People are still falling for this Facebook scam – and it needs to stop.
Here’s what you need to know.
If you’re on Facebook, undoubtedly you’ve seen this scam. Your friends have posted this message. Your mom or dad has posted it. You may have posted it too.
Here’s a popular version of the message (and there are other variations):
The message instructs Facebook users to copy and paste the message on their Facebook page so that users can prevent Facebook from sharing all their content, which supposedly is now becoming publicly available.
Here’s everything you need to know about this message in four words:
It is not real.
It is a scam.
Do not believe it.
There are many reasons why this message is a hoax, and here are a few. Let’s break it down further:
- Don’t trust messages with missing words, poor grammar and incorrect capital letters
When you see language such as “Don’t forget Deadline today!!!”, you should take notice. First, it should say, “the deadline.” Second, “Deadline” should not be capitalized. Third, you probably don’t want to trust statements that end in three exclamation points.
- Don’t trust messages that reference “court cases” or “litigation against you”
One day you’re innocently using social media. The next day you’re involved in court cases and litigation? Probably another red flag.
- Facebook doesn’t own your content
When you sign up for a Facebook account, you agree to certain legal terms and conditions, including privacy policies. You can modify your privacy settings at any time, but you can’t unilaterally change (or exempt yourself from) Facebook’s terms and conditions, including its privacy policies. As a Facebook user, despite what this hoax says, you own your content, including all your photos and videos. Facebook does not own your content, nor has Facebook stated it owns your content or will make your content public. As a Facebook user, you grant Facebook a right to use, share and distribute your content in accordance with your privacy settings.
- Posting a unilateral message with legalese doesn’t do anything
Posting a statement on your Facebook page that is contrary to Facebook’s privacy terms has no legal effect nor does it change Facebook’s privacy policies. Your relationship with Facebook is governed by the terms and conditions to which you agreed with Facebook as well as by existing copyright law. So, posting a notice won’t change any laws or privacy policies retroactively or in the future.
- Facebook being a public entity is irrelevant
While publicly-traded companies may face additional regulatory scrutiny and have additional reporting requirements, being a public entity in itself does not give companies more rights to disclose your content or violate your privacy.
So, what should you do? Here are a few options to consider:
- Stop posting this message on your Facebook page.
- Change your privacy settings.
- Don’t post content that you don’t want shared.
- If you’re still not comfortable with the above options, you can always cancel your account.
When it comes to your privacy, it’s important to be diligent. However, posting this message won’t do the trick.