That Facebook Copyright Notice Is Still a Hoax

Future Tense
The Citizen's Guide to the Future
Nov. 26 2012 10:12 AM

That Facebook Copyright Notice Is Still a Hoax

Facebook copyright hoax
Don't be confused by those status updates going around that claim to legally protect your Facebook profile's privacy.

Photo by Kimihiro Hoshino/AFP/Getty Images

Remember chain letters? Our era's equivalent are those viral Facebook status messages that refuse to die, no matter how many times they're debunked.

Today's edition is the copyright notice that claims to protect the person posting it from having the information on their profile disclosed, copied, disseminated, etc. by Facebook or any of its employees. (See image below for an example.) It uses lots of big, legal-sounding words and cites things like the Rome Statute, UCC Section 1-308, and the "Berner Convention" (presumably a misspelling of the Berne Convention), but that doesn't give it any more legitimacy than it had the last time it made the rounds, in June. Here's Snopes.com with more:

Facebook users cannot retroactively negate any of the privacy or copyright terms they agreed to when they signed up for their Facebook 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.
Advertisement

Back in June, the hoax capitalized on people's uncertainty over Facebook's debut as a publicly traded company, which in itself had no bearing on users' privacy rights or copyright protections. This time it's playing on people's confusion about Facebook's proposed changes to its terms of service. The proposed changes are real, but no status update that you post will have any bearing on how they affect you. If you want to weigh in on the proposals, you can do that here. As I wrote last week, if enough people comment on the changes, Facebook may even allow its users to vote on them, though the company's representatives have been a little cagey on that point.

But again, just to be clear, referencing a bunch of legal hokum on your Facebook profile will have absolutely no effect on what Facebook can and cannot do with your information. Nor will refusing to post said hokum on your profile open you to any new privacy violations or cause you to have bad sex for the next seven years.

Facebook copyright notice
An example of the Facebook privacy notice that is once again making the rounds.

Screenshot / Facebook

Future Tense is a partnership of SlateNew America, and Arizona State University.

Will Oremus is Slate's senior technology writer.

TODAY IN SLATE

Politics

Smash and Grab

Will competitive Senate contests in Kansas and South Dakota lead to more late-breaking races in future elections?

Stop Panicking. America Is Now in Very Good Shape to Respond to the Ebola Crisis.

The 2014 Kansas City Royals Show the Value of Building a Mediocre Baseball Team

The GOP Won’t Win Any Black Votes With Its New “Willie Horton” Ad

Sleater-Kinney Was Once America’s Best Rock Band

Can it be again?

Technocracy

Forget Oculus Rift

This $25 cardboard box turns your phone into an incredibly fun virtual reality experience.

One of Putin’s Favorite Oligarchs Wants to Start an Orthodox Christian Fox News

These Companies in Japan Are More Than 1,000 Years Old

Trending News Channel
Oct. 20 2014 6:17 PM Watch Flashes of Lightning Created in a Lab  
  News & Politics
Politics
Oct. 20 2014 8:14 PM You Should Be Optimistic About Ebola Don’t panic. Here are all the signs that the U.S. is containing the disease.
  Business
Moneybox
Oct. 20 2014 7:23 PM Chipotle’s Magical Burrito Empire Keeps Growing, Might Be Slowing
  Life
Dear Prudence
Oct. 21 2014 9:18 AM Oh, Boy Prudie counsels a letter writer whose sister dresses her 4-year-old son in pink tutus.
  Double X
The XX Factor
Oct. 20 2014 6:17 PM I Am 25. I Don't Work at Facebook. My Doctors Want Me to Freeze My Eggs.
  Slate Plus
Tv Club
Oct. 20 2014 7:15 AM The Slate Doctor Who Podcast: Episode 9 A spoiler-filled discussion of "Flatline."
  Arts
Brow Beat
Oct. 21 2014 10:41 AM Taylor Swift Just Went to No. 1 on iTunes Canada With 8 Seconds of Static 
  Technology
Future Tense
Oct. 21 2014 10:43 AM Social Networking Didn’t Start at Harvard It really began at a girls’ reform school.
  Health & Science
Bad Astronomy
Oct. 21 2014 7:00 AM Watch the Moon Eat the Sun: The Partial Solar Eclipse on Thursday, Oct. 23
  Sports
Sports Nut
Oct. 20 2014 5:09 PM Keepaway, on Three. Ready—Break! On his record-breaking touchdown pass, Peyton Manning couldn’t even leave the celebration to chance.