Any Internet user knows that his or her personal information always belongs to someone else, so when an opportunity to claim back your identity comes about, you have to grab it. A Facebook status promising copyright privileges to users who reposted that status went viral this weekend. But if you think Zuck would let you own the rights to that album of Mr. Fluffles, then we have some shares in Zynga we’d like to sell you.
The obvious hoax has been around at least once before, but Snopes updated its debunking in honor of the newest strain. “Facebook users cannot retroactively negate any of the privacy or copyright terms they agreed to when they signed up for their Facebook accounts nor can they unilaterally alter or contradict any new privacy or copyright terms instituted by Facebook simply by posting a contrary legal notice on their Facebook walls,” Snopes explains.
UPDATE: Facebook has decided to fact-check the copyright meme itself, noting that “Anyone who uses Facebook owns and controls the content and information they post, as stated in our terms. They control how that content and information is shared. That is our policy, and it always has been.”
But while Facebook’s terms of service state: “You own all of the content and information you post on Facebook,” it’s somewhat of a semantic distinction. Even if you “own” your data, Facebook has the right to use it as outlined in its data use policy.
Essentially, if you want to live in Zuck’s house, you have to live by Zuck’s rules. Your personal data is too valuable for Facebook to let lowly individuals dictate terms.
One other clue the viral privacy status (below) was too good to be true? Citing the Rome Statute that governs crimes against humanity:
In response to the new Facebook guidelines hereby declare that my copyright is attached to all of my personal details, illustrations, comics, paintings, professional photos and videos, etc. (as a result of the Berner Convention). For commercial use of the above my written consent is needed at all times!
(Anyone reading this can copy this text and paste it on their Facebook Wall. This will place them under protection of copyright laws. By the present communiqué, I notify Facebook that it is strictly forbidden to disclose, copy, distribute, disseminate, or take any other action against me on the basis of this profile and/or its contents. The aforementioned prohibited actions also apply to employees, students, agents and/or any staff under Facebook’s direction or control. The content of this profile is private and confidential information. The violation of my privacy is punished by law (UCC 1 1-308-308 1-103 and the Rome Statute).
Facebook is now an open capital entity. All members are recommended to publish a notice like this, or if you prefer, you may copy and paste this version. If you do not publish a statement at least once, you will be tacitly allowing the use of elements such as your photos as well as the information contained in your profile status updates…