Facebook’s New Privacy Chain Letter A Bogus

If you’ve been on Facebook this week, you may have seen a status update now making the rounds that purports to explain how to safeguard your privacy on the service. Which sounds great, but for one thing: It’s pretty much bogus.

The gist of this chain message is unless you post a disclaimer specifying that you forbid organizations and other people from using your Facebook updates, pictures and comments for — well, for whatever — you’ll lose rights to your own data. This is supposedly a consequence of the fact that Facebook is now a public company. Pretty much everything about the message is inaccurate or misleading.


First off, the fact that Facebook is publicly traded now doesn’t change the rights users have over their data. As Facebook says in a recent post on its “Facebook and Privacy” account page:

We have noticed a recent status update that is being widely shared implying the ownership of your Facebook content has recently changed. This is not true and has never been the case. Facebook does not own your data and content.

Also, Facebook users — like those of any other site — can’t simply override the site’s Terms of Use agreement with an after-the-fact disclaimer like this one. Once you’ve agreed to a site’s terms of use, you’re bound to those terms whether you like it or not. If you don’t, stop using the service.

Finally, the disclaimer cites the U.S. Uniform Commercial Code, which has nothing to do with privacy. Instead, people should understand that everything they post to Facebook will be treated as public data unless they take actions with their settings to make it otherwise.

Do you easily fall for these chain letter gimmicks online? Tell us what you think of this made-up disclaimer status!

Source: Yahoo News

Image: Better Business Bureau