Facebook Privacy Notice: Fake

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.


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.

Topic: Social Enterprise

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  • Probably best just to join this class action and get Facebook to pay you!

  • Facebook Scams

    I almost got scammed the same way back three to four days ago and I avoided the last minute. I checked on Scam Detector app. It's an awesome app that Apple released recently, it exposes 500 or 600 scams in lots of industries. They are online as well, google it or check www.scam-detector.com
    • @gopaldas17:

      Hey gopaldas17 - you really get around, promoting your Scam Detector app!

      "gopaldas17 is a Data Entry Web Research Virtual Assistant freelancer in Mumbai,India on the world's largest outsourcing marketplace Freelancer.com." :) :)
  • Hoax or Scam?

    Well, I was one of the re-posters of the above little privacy statement. At the time, I doubted that it did anything real at all, but knew it would do no harm.

    I often check what I think are hoaxes and scams through Snopes.com first, especially if they could be harmful to someone else, but this is just a silly hoax. No harm really - just wishful thinking that we, as individuals, could have some power of our own to control 'our' stuff. Seems, more and more we have no power whatsoever - just us, the 99% feeding the 1%. So, you got me - it's a hoax, ...and I don't care. :)
  • Thank you Violet,

    I hope more people see this and learn from it, but unfortunately we are preaching to the choir here and not necessarily reaching the people who need to see this.
  • Facebook Users

    I have to say that I see this kind of post on Facebook ALL the time. I just shake my head and go on, knowing that no matter how much I wish otherwise, some people by nature are sheep, following the leader without thinking for themselves. Like the one that went around about FB's new price tier because they are going to start charging in 2011! SMH...
    People please, just because it is posted on Facebook or some other social site does not make something true, factual, right, or legal. Do your due diligence.
    Arthur Whitehouse
  • It's all FB drama for those of you still into that sort of thing.

    Still, it does generate blog traffic so there must be a need. Hey, no offense. I much prefer this information platform so I don't have to navigate the actual site.
  • Facebook is dying a death anyway.

    I went through the most laboriously mundane task of deleting manually all my status updates when the new time line came into play. Absolutely worth it, if not to witness my own inane drivel in hindsight. These days I simply delete my comment after 24 hours. I have no pictures on there, no other details, I have removed all my likes, the only thing left is my name.

    I've noticed that less and less people are updating their status updates. And I don't post as much either.

    Once people stop posting, less people visit the site and for less often, and then fewer and fewer people stop posting, and then the cycle repeats itself until one day, it's as empty as MySpace.

    And there is the major problem for facebook, and anyone left holding it's toilet paper stocks. Because if Facebook makes one wrong move with it's attempt to monetize it's userbase, the game is up.
  • facebook privacy??!i

    Facebook privacy settings and policy never existed even if you had your setting "PRIVATE by PERMISSION ONLY! " I was hacked and the evidence was deliberately deleted from my device a year ago 9/11/11! Facebook and google had all evidence on that date deleted from my device which Yahoo reported to me! I had a friend send the evidence from her laptop to yahoo which has legal file. In offsite padded file! Witth my legal authorization! Ftc. Also is aware! So privacy never existed!