"Don't forget tomorrow starts the new Facebook rule where they can use your photos."
This was the way a virally shared post was copied and pasted in June 2022, and in the months before. It claimed that the deadline for this supposed rule change was "today" and that the photographs could "be used in court cases in litigation." The post added that, "Everything you've ever posted [on Facebook] becomes public from today - even messages that have been deleted." Despite these claims, the good news for Facebook users was that none of this was true.
Facebook users have copied and pasted dubious and partly or wholly false statements for many years. What makes this one different is that it's been making rounds, in one form or another, for at least a decade. Here's how this variation of the copypasta was shared on Facebook:
Don't forget tomorrow starts the new Facebook rule where they can use your photos. Don't forget the Deadline is today!!! It can be used in court cases in litigation against you. Everything you've ever posted becomes public from today - even messages that have been deleted. So post the following to your page. Copy and paste it to your page now!
I DO NOT GIVE FACEBOOK PERMISSION TO SHARE ANYTHING OF MINE., THAT I HAVE PUT ON THEIR SITE, . PICTURES, CURRENT OR PAST POSTS, PHONE NUMBERS OR EMAILS.. ABSOLUTELY NOTHING CAN BE USED IN ANY FORM WITHOUT MY WRITTEN PERMISSION OR VERBAL CONSENT.
Some variations of posts that we found in June 2022 also contained references to "Channel 13 News," a "UCC" code, "the Rome Statute," and the "POPI Act." None of these additions to the copypasta made the shares any less dubious.
We previously reported on two other similar variations of this same post. One prior version of the copypasta, which we covered in November 2021, began like this: "The new Facebook/Meta rule starts tomorrow where they can use your photos. Don't forget the deadline is today! This could be used in lawsuits against you. Everything you've ever posted is posted today – even messages that have been deleted. It doesn't cost anything, just copy and post, better than regretting later."
Several other variations of the same post have a history that can be traced all the way back to at least 2012. One began as follows: "Hi all. Don't forget today starts the new Instagram rule where they can use your photo Don't forget Deadline tomorrow !!! Everything you've ever posted becomes public from tomorrow. Even messages that have been deleted or the photos not allowed. It costs nothing for a simple copy and paste, better safe than sorry."
As we previously reported, users of Facebook or any other platform owned by Meta cannot make any changes to their rights under the company's policies simply by posting a statement on their profile. This includes posting messages in nothing but capital letters. See Meta/Facebook's terms of service for the company's policies governing users' data and media.
In sum, no, a "new Facebook rule" does not start "tomorrow" such that Meta "can use your photos," nor are all users' private posts and deleted messages being made public.