Facebook Privacy Notice: Fake

Summary:The viral Facebook Privacy Notice is a fraud and shows that user trust is at an all time low.

A so-called "Facebook Privacy Notice" is currently circulating Facebook and users are posting it to their profiles and timelines.

There are a few versions and they are all useless fakes.

Here's one version of the Facebook Privacy Notice on offer at Pastebin.

It's a harmless cut and paste spoof - unless you think it's actually going to protect your privacy any further than Facebook's own Terms.

Snopes: the "Notice" is fake

Today internet myth-busting site Snopes called shenanigans on the Facebook Privacy Notice being virally passed around by wishful Facebook users.

Snopes explains that users can't invalidate the Terms agreements initially agreed to upon joining a website by merely posting a statement, even if in legalese.

Despite a user's wish to retain rights to their content and privacy, they've already given certain rights over to Facebook by signing up in the first place.

Moreover, Snopes explains that the very premise the "Notice" is founded on is untrue.

The "Notice" is based on an inaccurate belief that Facebook's recent change into a publicly traded company somehow affects the privacy rights of its users.

If only it were so simple.

The primary version making the rounds (below) is a blanket disclaimer statement that reads,

PRIVACY NOTICE: Warning - any person and/or institution and/or Agent and/or Agency of any governmental structure including but not limited to the United States Federal Government also using or monitoring/using this website or any of its associated websites, you do NOT have my permission to utilize any of my profile information nor any of the content contained herein including, but not limited to my photos, and/or the comments made about my photos or any other "picture" art posted on my profile.

You are hereby notified that you are strictly prohibited from disclosing, copying, distributing, disseminating, or taking any other action against me with regard to this profile and the contents herein.

The foregoing prohibitions also apply to your employee, agent, student or any personnel under your direction or control.

The contents of this profile are private and legally privileged and confidential information, and the violation of my personal privacy is punishable by law.

UCC 1-103 1-308 ALL RIGHTS RESERVED WITHOUT PREJUDICE

The "Notice" reads like a social media privacy wishlist.

Careful readers will note the Uniform Commerical Code (UCC) 1-103 1-308: The UCC deals with commerical law in the United States and has absolutely nothing to do with privacy.

In some cases, the "Notice" is preceded by a false claim that this is necessary for your own protection since Facebook has become a publicly traded company; that now "anyone can infringe on your right to privacy" with your Facebook content.

It segues into the "Notice" with a chain-mail style conclusion:

Facebook is now a publicly traded entity.

Unless you state otherwise, anyone can infringe on your right to privacy once you post to this site. It is recommended that you and other members post a similar notice as this, or you may copy and paste this version.

If you do not post such a statement once, then you are indirectly allowing public use of items such as your photos and the information contained in your status updates.

That a significant amount of people would succumb to a fraudulent legal talisman demonstrates to me just how much user-confusion companies like Facebook must be cashing in on.

At the heart of this scam is the baseline assumption that a major change to privacy rights of Facebook users would occur and that facebook would not tell anyone about the changes.

A lot of people fell for it - because a lot of people don't trust Facebook.

This is the first time I've seen a hoax wind up being reposted by people that don't usually get taken in by this kind of casual fraud.

No silver bullet to protect your privacy

Posting a notice to your Facebook account asserting control over your privacy is just as effective as tossing a dime into a fountain - except you're pretty clear that you're now down by ten cents by your own hand.

Many people are so nervous and bewildered by Facebook's privacy issues they don't know which way is up.

The false "Privacy Notice" meme underscores just how confused and worried Facebook users have become.

Snopes wisely reminds us that Facebook users can't do anything to retroactively override the privacy Terms they agreed to upon joining the site.

However, there are currently changes being proposed to Facebook's actual Facebook’s Statement of Rights and Responsibilities (SRR) and Data Use Policy.

Users are invited to have their say in a vote (thanks to privacy activists putting pressure on Facebook).

Interested Facebook users can find more information and a link to the Site Governance Vote can be found on Facebook’s Site Governance page.

Topics: Social Enterprise

About

Ms. Violet Blue (tinynibbles.com, @violetblue) is a freelance investigative reporter on hacking and cybercrime at Zero Day/ZDNet, CNET and CBS News, as well as a noted sex columnist. She has made regular appearances on CNN and The Oprah Winfrey Show and is regularly interviewed, quoted, and featured in a variety of publications that inclu... Full Bio

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