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Facebook Privacy Notice


Claim:   Posting a legal notice on your Facebook wall will protect your copyright and privacy rights.

FALSE

Examples:

[Collected via e-mail, November 2014]

Due to the fact that Facebook has chosen to involve software that will allow the theft of my personal information, I state: at this date of November 27, 2014, in response to the new guidelines of Facebook, pursuant to articles L.111, 112 and 113 of the code of intellectual property, I declare that my rights are attached to all my personal data drawings, paintings, photos, video, texts etc.... published on my profile and my page. For commercial use of the foregoing my written consent is required at all times.

Those who read this text can do a copy/paste on their Facebook wall. This will allow them to place themselves under the protection of copyright. By this statement, I tell Facebook that it is strictly forbidden to disclose, copy, distribute, broadcast, or take any other action against me on the basis of this profile and or its content. The actions mentioned above also apply to employees, students, agents and or other personnel under the direction of Facebook.

The content of my profile contains private information. The violation of my privacy is punishable by law (UCC 1-308 1-308 1-103 and the Rome Statute).

Facebook is now an open capital entity. All members are invited to publish a notice of this kind, or if they prefer, you can copy and paste this version.

If you have not published this statement at least once, you tacitly allow the use of elements such as your photos as well as the information contained in the profile update.
 

Origins:   Messages about protecting your copyright or privacy rights on Facebook by posting a particular legal notice to your Facebook wall are similar to an item which circulated several years ago positing that posting a similar notice on a web site would protect that site's operators from prosecution for piracy. In both cases the claims were erroneous, an expression of the mistaken belief the use of some simple legal talisman — knowing enough to ask the right question or post a pertinent disclaimer — will immunize one from some undesirable legal consequence. The law just doesn't work that way.

Facebook users cannot retroactively negate any
of the privacy or copyright terms they agreed to when they signed up for their accounts, nor can they unilaterally alter or contradict any new privacy or copyright terms instituted by Facebook, simply by posting a contrary legal notice on their Facebook walls. Moreover, that Facebook is now a publicly traded company (i.e., a company that has issued stocks which are traded on the open market) or an "open capital entity" has nothing to do with copyright protection or privacy rights.

Any copyright or privacy agreements users of Facebook have entered into with that company prior to its becoming a publicly traded company or changing its policies remain in effect: they are neither diminished nor enhanced by Facebook's public status.

Further, the concerns about copyright ownership which these types of notices are intended to address are unfounded. In response to rumors about copyright issues that began circulating in November 2012 after Facebook announced the company was considering revoking users' rights to vote on proposed policy changes, Facebook issued a statement noting:
There is a rumor circulating that Facebook is making a change related to ownership of users' information or the content they post to the site. This is false. Anyone who uses Facebook owns and controls the content and information they post, as stated in our terms. They control how that content and information is shared. That is our policy, and it always has been. Click here to learn more - www.facebook.com/policies.
Similarly, ABC News reported:
[Users worried that] Facebook will own their photos or other media are posting [a frightful message] — unaware that it is a hoax. Here's the truth: Facebook doesn't own your media.

"We have noticed some statements that suggest otherwise and we wanted to take a moment to remind you of the facts — when you post things like photos to Facebook, we do not own them," Facebook spokesman Andrew Noyes said in a statement. "Under our terms you grant Facebook permission to use, distribute, and share the things you post, subject to the terms and applicable privacy settings."

Brad Shear, a Washington-area attorney and blogger who is an expert on social media, said the message [that Facebook users are posting to their walls is] "misleading and not true." He said that when you agree to Facebook's terms of use you provide Facebook a "non-exclusive, transferable, royalty-free, worldwide license to use any content you post. You do not need to make any declarations about copyright issues since the law already protects you. The privacy declaration [in this message] is worthless and does not mean anything."
As techtalk noted of Facebook users' current privacy rights:
The fact is that Facebook members own the intellectual property (IP) that is uploaded to the social network, but depending on their privacy and applications settings, users grant the social network "a non-exclusive, transferable, sub-licensable, royalty-free, worldwide license to use any IP content that you post on or in connection with Facebook (IP License)."

Facebook adds, "[t]his IP License ends when you delete your IP content or your account unless your content has been shared with others, and they have not deleted it."

While the social network does not technically own its members content, it has the right to use anything that is not protected with Facebook's privacy and applications settings. For instance, photos, videos and status updates set to public are fair game.
Before you can use Facebook, you must indicate your acceptance of that social network's legal terms, which includes its privacy policy and its terms and policies. You cannot alter your acceptance of that agreement, nor can you restrict the rights of entities who are not parties to that agreement, simply by posting a notice to your Facebook account or citing the Uniform Commercial Code (UCC) or the Berne Convention. (One of the common legal talismans referenced above is UCC Section 1-308, which has long been popular among conspiracy buffs who incorrectly maintain that citing it above your signature on an instrument will confer upon you the ability to invoke extraordinary legal rights.)

If you do not agree with Facebook's stated policies, you have several options:
  • Decline to sign up for a Facebook account.
  • Bilaterally negotiate a modified policy with Facebook.
  • Lobby for Facebook to amend its policies through its Facebook Site Governance section.

  • Cancel your Facebook account.
(Note that in the last case, you may have already ceded some rights which you cannot necessarily reclaim by canceling your account.)

Last updated:   28 November 2014

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Sources:

    Ngak, Chenda.   "Viral "Facebook Privacy Notice" Is a Hoax."
    CBSNews.com.   5 June 2012.

    Stern, Joanna.   "Ignore the 'Copyright' Facebook Post."
    ABC News.   26 November 2012.

    Sydiongco, David.   "Don't Bother Posting the 'Facebook Privacy Notice' That's Spreading Around."
    Slate.   5 June 2012.