Facebook privacy has long been a contentious issue among users and businesses alike. We don’t like the fact that Facebook lays claim to everything that is published on the site, and Facebook doesn’t really care that we have a problem with that. But today, a privacy notice went viral, that claimed to protect users from Facebook’s ownership claims.
The Facebook Privacy Notice Was a Big Fake
Even after the internet was abuzz with the fact that the Facebook privacy notice was in fact, a massive (and slightly ridiculous) fake – people were still sharing it in droves. If anything, this proves that there are lots of people in the world that don’t like the fact that Facebook can own their words, images and media if it’s placed on the social network.
Here is the full text:
“In response to the new Facebook guidelines I hereby declare that my copyright is attached to all of my personal details, illustrations, graphics, comics, paintings, photos and videos, etc. (as a result of the Berner Convention). For commercial use of the above my written consent is needed at all times!
(Anyone reading this can copy this text and paste it on their Facebook Wall. This will place them under protection of copyright laws. By the present communiqué, I notify Facebook that it is strictly forbidden to disclose, copy, distribute, disseminate, or take any other action against me on the basis of this profile and/or its contents.
The aforementioned prohibited actions also apply to employees, students, agents and/or any staff under Facebook’s direction or control. The content of this profile is private and confidential information. The violation of my privacy is punished by law (UCC 1 1-308-308 1-103 and the Rome Statute).
Facebook is now an open capital entity. All members are recommended to publish a notice like this, or if you prefer, you may copy and paste this version. If you do not publish a statement at least once, you will be tacitly allowing the use of elements such as your photos as well as the information contained in your profile status updates…”
Personal Opinions on The Privacy Notice
First of all, if you understand the law, you’ll quickly realize that publishing a ‘copyright’ notice on a social network does pretty much nothing to protect your intellectual rights. If it was that easy, and in the unlikely event that a poorly written, incorrect disclaimer could pass as protection, the Facebook privacy notice would come from an official source.
A quick perusal will reveal that there is no such thing as the ‘Berner Convention’ and that they are referring to the Berne Convention here. So, even if this was an official document, millions of people would have tried to protect their rights under a Facebook privacy notice that references non-existent conventions.
The Facebook privacy notice came about because according to the author, a publically traded company has the right to sell data to people now – which is false. All it means is that private persons can own shares or stocks in the company.
The Facebook Response To The False Notice
This Facebook privacy notice became so viral, that Facebook posted a response:
“We have noticed a recent status update that is being widely shared implying the ownership of your Facebook content has recently changed. This is not true and has never been the case.
Facebook does not own your data and content.
Please see our Terms of Service for more information”
The Reasons This Went Viral
Why did this particular nonsensical Facebook privacy notice go viral?
- It was platform specific and threatened users personal content
- It was tied to a truth, Facebook has had privacy problems in the past, and they have just become a publicly traded company
- It referenced nonsense laws which made it seem like a legitimate Facebook privacy notice
- If a user saw that one of their friends had posted it, they would post it ‘just to be safe’ even if it wasn’t true
- It’s not hard to believe that a corporation could sell people’s private details
What can we learn from this instant viral sensation?
- Issues like the Facebook privacy notice that are relevant to everyone, are highly, highly sharable.
- Grounding your viral content in something real may help it spread
- Basing your viral image or text on a sudden viral hit will get you more shares
- If people ‘have’ to post it, or they’ll lose out, they would rather post it to be safe
Finally, Some Twitter Impressions Over The Facebook Privacy Debacle
@Reneecole: If one more moron posts this in my #Facebook newsfeed today I will flip out. DO SOME RESEARCH PEOPLE
@bethymcar: I guess I’d be surprised if FB DIDN’T want to use my info, I’m very entertaining. Have at’er Mark #Facebook #copyrighthoax
@RVujasinovic: I guess it’s that time of year when people believe they can have copyright protection by posting a status on Facebook. #facebook#howsad
There you have it! No need to stress about the Facebook privacy notice, because it wasn’t real. It is, if anything, just another great example of a viral idea that worked.
Did you like today’s post on Facebook privacy? Then share it please!
Tell me what you thought of the privacy notice – did you see it was fake? Did you spend hours telling your friends it was fake?