It’s happening again. It rears its ugly head every couple of months or so (since 2012!), and … It’s baaaaaccckkkk!
You may have seen a Facebook “privacy notice” creep into your Facebook timeline in the last couple of days. One or two or twenty of your friends have posted it, staking their claim to ownership of their “stuff” and warning Facebook of the dire consequences of breaching the moat.
It probably looks something like this:
“As of ___, 2015 at ___ a.m. 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 is private and confidential information. The violation of privacy can be punished by law (UCC 1-308-11 308-103 and 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 If you do not publish this statement at least once it will be tactically allowing the use of your photos, as well as information contained in the profile status updates. DO NOT SHARE. You MUST copy and paste!”
Because people are cutting-and-pasting it as a status, it’s proliferating like crazy. As it always does.
And it’s a hoax. As it always is.
As I have told countless participants in my workshops and classes: You may “own” your words (and you do, unless you specifically give up your rights to another person or entity), but you also agreed to give Facebook “a non-exclusive, transferable, sub-licensable, royalty-free, worldwide license to use any IP content that you post on or in connection with Facebook,” according to the company’s Statement of Rights and Responsibilities. This means Facebook can use anything you post on their site. So that little cut-and-paste job you were considering? Don’t bother. It won’t have any effect on the Terms of Service to which you have agreed.
Not crazy about that? What’s a body to do? Well, you can …
- Not sign up for a Facebook account in the first place (oops, too late)
- Ask Facebook to amend its policies (did I already wish you good luck?)
- Delete the content you don’t want Facebook to be able to use (not always a fail-safe, as this article explains)
- Delete your Facebook account (slight problem: if “your content has been shared with others, and they have not deleted it,” it’s still available for Facebook’s use, you just won’t be around to know if it’s happening)
Look, friend: First of all, you must be aware that your privacy ended the very day you created a profile on Facebook. That is, after all, why you joined Facebook in the first place: so that whatever you post will be shared, tagged, copied, and posted elsewhere … because your life is JUST THAT FREAKING FASCINATING.
But while we’re on social media misconceptions, there’s something I think is a lot more important than Facebook borrowing your priceless cat videos for its own nefarious purposes, and that is to remember this:
No social media platform is a safe repository of anything you intend to have and to hold ’til death do you part. If social media is the only place you post, you run the risk of that platform no longer being there someday. And once it’s gone, all your lovely words (and pictures, videos, and, yes, your clever little memes) will be gone with it. So, if you’re using Facebook, LinkedIn, or anything of the kind as a lazy (wo)man’s blog, I have just two words for you: Please don’t.
My recommendation? Start your blog today. Cross-post to social media if you’d like (I recommend it), but know that social media is no substitute for a website/blog you own and control.
Anyway, here’s the warning you really should be posting to your wall … you know, as a public service, and all.
Seriously. Save yourself. Save your friends and family … from the Facebook Apocalypse.