Hoaxes & Rumors

Useless Facebook Privacy Notice Goes Viral. Again.

Useless Facebook Privacy Notice Goes Viral. Again.

A Facebook post claims that you must publicly post a statement disallowing public use of your photos and information on Facebook.

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It’s false.

Users of Facebook agree to their Terms of Service, and posting a “public statement” cannot override this fact. Further, the codes listed in the rumor are commercial codes, which don’t apply to personal posts on a social network. The verbiage of these codes don’t even relate to what is being stated in the rumor. There is also no mention of any such need to do this in Facebook’s terms & conditions or in their privacy policy. We first spotted this rumor in June 2012 after Facebook became a publicly-traded company. It has resurfaced again in June 2013, October 2013, August 2014, November 2014, and January 2015.

History

Let’s take a look at the original version of the rumor.

Safe than sorry is right. Channel 13 News was just talking about this change in Facebook’s privacy policy. Better safe than sorry. As of October 15, 2013 at 10:30 pm Eastern standard time, 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 If you do not publish a statement at least once it will be tactically allowing the use of your photos, as well as the information contained in the profile status updates. DO NOT SHARE. You MUST copy and Paste. thanx for the post

It should be noted that two Uniform Commercial Codes (UCC) are included, probably to make the post look more official. If you take a look at the actual UCC codes, however, you’ll find they have nothing to do with this matter.

§ 1-103. Construction of [Uniform Commercial Code] to Promote its Purposes and Policies: Applicability of Supplemental Principles of Law.

(a) [The Uniform Commercial Code] must be liberally construed and applied to promote its underlying purposes and policies, which are: (1) to simplify, clarify, and modernize the law governing commercial transactions; (2) to permit the continued expansion of commercial practices through custom, usage, and agreement of the parties; and (3) to make uniform the law among the various jurisdictions.

(b) Unless displaced by the particular provisions of [the Uniform Commercial Code], the principles of law and equity, including the law merchant and the law relative to capacity to contract, principal and agent, estoppel, fraud, misrepresentation, duress, coercion, mistake, bankruptcy, and other validating or invalidating cause supplement its provisions.

The commercial codes further state:

§ 1-108. Relation to Electronic Signatures in Global and National Commerce Act.

This article modifies, limits, and supersedes the federal Electronic Signatures in Global and National Commerce Act, 15 U.S.C. Section 7001 et seq., except that nothing in this article modifies, limits, or supersedes Section 7001(c) of that Act or authorizes electronic delivery of any of the notices described in Section 7003(b) of that Act.

fb-privacy

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2012 Version

The original version of this pointless notice circulated in mid-2012, right after Facebook became a publicly-traded company. That notice included the same UCC codes and much of the same verbiage is borrowed here, including the note that “Facebook is now a public entity.” See Rumor: “Public Statement” to Protect Facebook Privacy

2014-2015 Resurgence

One can only surmise why the pointless post resurfaces, but in 2014 the notice likely came on the heels of rumors about the new Facebook messenger, which has had its share of detractors. It is possible that this notice resurfaced in a futile attempt to offset any privacy concerns Facebook users may have about the new messenger.

In late November 2014, a variant of the privacy notice began circulating in heavy numbers. This is perhaps due to an announcement that Facebook’s privacy policy will be updated as of January 2015. This variant reads:

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 29, 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.

Despite the updated wording of the privacy notice, posting it will still do no good. In January 2015, as the Facebook privacy policy change took effect, the bogus privacy notice heavily circulated once again.

Bottom Line:

This “public statement” does absolutely nothing. Users cannot agree to Facebook’s terms and then post on Facebook that they want to override the requirements for using the site. If you don’t want your posts to be used by Facebook, do not post them there. If you choose to post pictures on Facebook, consider putting your privacy settings as high as you can, and choose your friends wisely.

The post also does nothing to protect against concerns about privacy in relation to the new Facebook messenger.

Further Reading

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View Comments (6)

6 Comments

  1. Mark

    January 7, 2015 at 3:59 pm

    You seem to be pretty certain of your understanding of UCC guidelines. Are you giving legal advice?

    • waffles

      January 7, 2015 at 7:00 pm

      No, but it is clear that the UCC verbiage is irrelevant to the ubiquitous Facebook post.

  2. Taya

    January 5, 2015 at 12:26 am

    I don’t have a client on who started this rumor, but this is all that I see on my news feed. Its rather irritating to see nothing but this.

  3. Travis

    January 4, 2015 at 11:41 pm

    Been seeing people make this post for 2 weeks now. Let me share this article so people will stop

  4. David Kotowski

    October 17, 2013 at 5:36 pm

    You can probably go ahead and save a draft of this same article to post again in 6-12 months when the blissfully ignorant and under educated do this all over again.

    Oh, and what is “the Rome Statute”??

    • Nathan

      October 18, 2013 at 12:01 pm

      The Rome Statute established four core international crimes: genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes and the crime of aggression.

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