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Facebook privacy status hoax resurfaces again, fills news feeds

Posted at 7:57 PM, Sep 28, 2015

A years-old Facebook hoax is making the rounds again, giving users false hope that a simple status update will lock down their accounts and protect the photos and videos they share.

The status contains a sentence that intends to prevent Facebook from using your content. According to the message, pasting the message on your wall prevents the social media company from using your photos or anything else on your profile.

The problem? It doesn't work.

Here's the status:

As of (date), I do not give Facebook or any entities associated with Facebook permission to use my pictures, information, or posts, both past and future. By this statement, I give notice to Facebook it is strictly forbidden to disclose, copy, distribute, or take any other action against me based on this profile and/or its contents. The content of this profile is private and confidential information. The violation of privacy can be punished by law (UCC 1-308- 1 1 308-103 and the Rome Statute). NOTE: Facebook is now a public entity. All members must post a note like this. If you prefer, you can copy and paste this version. If you do not publish a statement atleast once it will be tactically allowing the use of your photos, as well as the information contained in the profile status updates.

According to Facebook’s terms and conditions, your photos and videos are fair game — sometimes.

“For content that is covered by intellectual property rights, like photos and videos (IP content), you specifically give us the following permission, subject to your privacy and application settings: you grant us 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). This 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,” the site’s terms read.

That means Facebook does not own users’ content, but the site does have permission to use any photos, videos or statuses that are posted publicly.

However, there’s hope for social savvy users who don’t want to broadcast their lives beyond their close friends and family and don’t want the site to have access to their content. If you don’t want your photos or videos shared by other entities, you can tighten the security settings on your account, making some or all of your posts private.

The hoax dates as far back as November 2012, when Facebook noticed that status becoming so widespread, the social networking site released a statement seeking to clarify.

“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,” the company said at the time.

Snopes addressed the hoax status back in 2011. The message seems to appear at least once a year -- and every year, thousands of people are tricked into sharing the message on their page.

Here's an excerpt from the Snopes article:

"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, the fact 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."

Users can read the site’s full terms of service, here. If they find something they don’t like, users can lobby for a chance through Facebook’s Site Governance section.