Discussing Facebook and Privacy

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Yes it is happening again. You have probably seen these walls of text popping up in your Facebook feed. Every two or three years this cycle repeats. Facebook privacy rights become a topic for conversation, and individuals start posting long paragraphs full of legal jargon on their wall in an attempt to keep themselves protected. Do these copy/paste defenses have any real legal standing? What are our privacy rights to the content we post on Facebook?

The Statement Being Made

These posts are largely uniform, as the contents of the posts themselves call on Facebook users to directly copy/paste their content into a Facebook status update. A snippet from the posts goes as follows:

“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).”

What the Statement Means

Essentially, this statement means nothing. It’s just a series of senseless words strung together. It holds no legal power at all. The law cited in the text refers to the Uniform Commercial Code, and the “Rome Statute” applies only to the International Criminal Court. Posting this text or anything similar to it on your Facebook wall will in no way protect you or your privacy.

Actual Facebook Privacy Rights

Unfortunately, when you first signed up for Facebook you agreed to the sites terms and conditions. In doing that you have already granted the site “non-exclusive, transferable, sub-licensable, royalty-free, worldwide license to use any IP content that you post on or in connection with Facebook.” If you want to keep something private, you need to keep it off of Facebook. For content you have already posted, it is too late. Even if you delete it, Facebook keeps backups and archives of everything. If you value your privacy, keep it secret, keep it safe, and keep it off the internet.

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