Hoaxes & Rumors

Rumor: “Public Statement” to Protect Facebook Privacy

Rumor: “Public Statement” to Protect Facebook Privacy
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A rumor claims that you must publicly post a statement disallowing public use of your photos and information on Facebook. Today we’ll look a little closer at this claim.

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It’s false.

Facebook’s Terms did not change just because they became a publicly-traded company. Moreover, becoming a publicly-traded company doesn’t suddenly alter a company’s policies in terms of privacy. Besides the fact that 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. The rumor first appeared in June 2012 after Facebook became a publicly-traded company. It has resurfaced again in June 2013.

By using Facebook, you agree to their terms and conditions – and such a “public statement” does not override this fact.

Let’s take a look at the rumor itself.

For those of you who do not understand the reasoning behind this posting, Facebook is now a publicly traded entity. Unless you state otherwise, anyone can infringe on your right to privacy once you post to this site. It is recommended that you and other members post a similar notice as this, or you may copy and paste this version. If you do not post such a statement once, then you are indirectly allowing public use of items such as your photos and the information contained in your status updates.

PRIVACY NOTICE: Warning – any person and/or institution and/or Agent and/or Agency of any governmental structure including but not limited to the United States Federal Government also using or monitoring/using this website or any of its associated websites, you do NOT have my permission to utilize any of my profile information nor any of the content contained herein including, but not limited to my photos, and/or the comments made about my photos or any other “picture” art posted on my profile.

You are hereby notified that you are strictly prohibited from disclosing, copying, distributing, disseminating, or taking any other action against me with regard to this profile and the contents herein. The foregoing prohibitions also apply to your employee , agent , student or any personnel under your direction or control.

The contents of this profile are private and legally privileged and confidential information, and the violation of my personal privacy is punishable by law. UCC 1-103 1-308 ALL RIGHTS RESERVED WITHOUT PREJUDICE

Curiously, 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 mentioned, you’ll find they really 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.

And…

§ 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.

Bottom Line:
This “public statement” does absolutely nothing. You can’t agree to Facebook’s terms and then post on Facebook that you want to override their requirements for using the site. If you don’t want your images used by Facebook, it may be better not to post them there in the first place. If you do choose to post pictures on Facebook, consider put your privacy settings as high as you can, and choose your friends carefully.

Further Reading

 

Article updated June 12, 2013

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