Facebook privacy notice chain letter is a hoax

Filed Under: Facebook, Privacy, Social networks

Facebook logoSorry folks, but posting a supposed legal disclaimer to your Facebook profile does not alter the Terms of Service (ToS) or privacy policies governing how your content is viewed on Facebook.

Many (dozens!) of Facebook users have submitted tips to Naked Security over the last week alerting us to a new chain letter/hoax circulating among well-meaning Facebook users.

The message reads as follows:

"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 a......llowing public use of items such as your photos and the information contained in your status updates.

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. (M)"

Another variant reads:

In response to the new Facebook guidelines I hereby declare that my copyright is attached to all of my personal details, illustrations, graphics, comics, paintings, 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…

Terms and Conditions image courtesy of ShutterstockUnfortunately taking control of your online identity is not as simple as making a declaration on your Facebook wall. Using any website to store content or personal details requires compliance with the site's Terms of Service.

These messages are simply another chain letter type hoax pinned upon wishful thinking.

If you are uncomfortable with Facebook monetizing your content or making your content available to the US government you either need to avoid posting the content to Facebook, or more carefully control your privacy settings and hope the authorities don't seek a court order for your information.

If you receive one of these messages from a friend, kindly notify them that it is not legally valid. You might also suggest they check with Snopes or the Naked Security Facebook page before propagating myths.

Terms and Conditions image courtesy of Shutterstock.

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65 Responses to Facebook privacy notice chain letter is a hoax

  1. rmtefft · 1183 days ago

    Prove the hoax....

    • Chris · 1183 days ago

      "Unfortunately taking control of your online identity is not as simple as making a declaration on your Facebook wall. Using any website to store content or personal details requires compliance with the site's Terms of Service."

      • Bond · 1182 days ago

        Apparently he didn't read the content of the post.

      • Agent23 · 1182 days ago

        It's called the Terms of Service you agreed to when you started using the website. Just like many similar things you probably didn't read when you clicked the [I Agree] button.

    • Bill Kreps · 1182 days ago

      Hoax in the sense that its substance is not valid or legally supportable. Whenever a party to a contract proposes a change in terms, the other party has a right to reject or accept the change of terms. Facebook initiated the terms of service and each individual user of Facebook accepted. If you don't want your content used, delete everything that you have posted, delete any tags, and leave Facebook. But it's still entirely possible that you will not be able to revoke Facebook's right to content that you have posted on their servers, or which has been 'inherited' by the owners of apps that a Facebook user used.

    • guest · 1182 days ago


    • angryemu · 1182 days ago

      UCC ~does~ cover copyrights but does ~not~ cover privacy. general conversation (including status updates and Notes and the like) is not covered under copyright.

      if you don't want someone sharing, downloading, commenting, printing, etc...don't post it in the first place!

    • Hoaxes don't have to be disproved. The burden of proof lies solely with the claim maker:

      YouTube - The burden of proof

    • Trix · 1182 days ago

      And FB's Terms of Service, which is effectively a contract you have entered into by having an FB account, says that they own the content that you upload to their service. You can withdraw from that contract by removing your account.

      It's like paying to see a movie, sitting through the entire thing, and then going out and demanding a refund because you don't like sitting in the dark.

    • KMM · 1062 days ago

      This started as an email, before it showed up all over Facebook.

      • Lynda Hayes · 1008 days ago

        Just don't post things that you want to keep private. It's only Facebook. I hate how everyone thinks it's super important....... It's really not!!

  2. Steven Clark · 1183 days ago

    Sorry, while it may not change Facebook's terms of service, claiming that it is a chain letter, is a hoax, in and of itself. Similar language predates recent replication by more than a year. While the language itself may be narrowly targeted, it cannot be demonstrated to be a chain letter. Claiming such calls into question your credibility.

    • GG- · 787 days ago

      Think of it as a new way of using the term 'chain letter', as many people are receiving it (seeing it on their newsfeed) over a network (Facebook) and redistributing it (posting it on their wall or sharing it) which is essentially the same thing as getting a forwarded e-mail and consequently forwarding it yet another time, it still forms a 'chain' and to say that all of Sophos or the author's entire credibility is questionable because you desire to argue semantics is entirely absurd.

  3. Glenn · 1182 days ago

    i figure it can't hurt to post this in your "about me" section of your profile. At least it shows intention and if enough of us post it, it might just carry some weight...

    • Eve · 1009 days ago

      Exactly what i think ! Cant hurt <>><

      • Del · 1008 days ago

        Geez, look at the all the thumbs down for Steve and Glenn's comments...bunch of uptight pricks follow this column. Hmmm, maybe I should reconsider following this site?

    • Joh · 1007 days ago

      Or it will actually carry no weight whatsoever and make you look like an uniformed idiot. It'll carry about as much weight as you declaring yourself free from taxes.

  4. Jeannie L. · 1182 days ago

    Thanks! I figured it was not legal or valid.

  5. Gus · 1182 days ago

    Compliance with their TOS, yes, but their TOS, under the law, is supposed to comply with your right to privacy. Hence providing privacy settings, regardless of the fact that it's a social network. Even electronic media has to comply with the right to privacy of personal information, up to and including the sharing of your private feelings/thoughts/expressions to "friends only." Not to mention violating your rights to be protected from unreasonable search and seizure, face your accusers in a court of law, and being forced to incriminate yourself. Those rights supercede any TOS agreement you may enter, and any TOS agreement must comply with those rights first and foremost.

    Just because it's electronic media doesn't automatically make it legal for anyone to disseminate your personal information, including semi-private expressions, to anyone, regardless of who is providing the service at what cost or the lack thereof. The more everyone keeps delegating away their intrinsic rights as delineated in the Bill of Rights, the more the government and private corporate entities will trample on them. Learn how to stand up for yourselves and research the necessary information. Dissemination without consent just because it's electronic media doesn't make it any less of a crime against you. It would be like you writing a letter to a friend and that friend making your letter public knowledge. Plus, some things are just the decent and right thing to do.

    • Bob White · 1182 days ago

      So if you have these rights already, posting this message wont make any difference. Either it's protected by law or it isnt

    • Milson · 787 days ago

      um.... every time you log in to FB, you sign that ToS agreement. If you have never read it, perhaps you should. Everything posted there is THEIR property for THEIR use. Facebook, being a business, has a product. That product is YOU. YOU are not their customers, the advertisers that pay them money to host their ads and pages that you all click 'Like' on are their customers. Whether your thoughts, expressions, photos, artwork, etc are posted publicly or not, they have unfettered access and ownership to all that is posted there. All of the personal information that you typed in when you first signed up for FB is their property to do as they see fit, which usually entails selling it to advertisers.

      As to the Bill of Rights taking precedence over the ToS, guess what... it does not. You have no guaranteed right against self incrimination if you post status update or a picture of yourself doing something incriminating. As for being protected from unreasonable search or seizure, think about it, it is in the public domain, the internet. It is accessible forever. If it can be found on Google, it's available to anyone, at anytime, for any reason.

  6. susan · 1182 days ago

    yeah, this isn't new though...I've seen this same thing posted over the past 2 years on several profiles...I laugh my had off each time because folks just don't seem to understand that all profiles belong to FB and FB only...we are merely being allowed to use this free site...LMAO

  7. Martha Moore · 1182 days ago

    Here's a thought. If you don't want a photo or comment shared with the public, don't post if on Facebook.

    • greggsan · 1008 days ago

      Personal responsibility. What a concept!

    • EXACLTY! People need to think of facebook, as standing on the road side yelling at the top of your lungs....most folks would then realize that some things are not meant to be shouted on the side of the road, and it is those very things you shouldnt post online, anywhere, ever, since even deleting them doesnt make them truly vanish forever, they still exist somewhere, and can resurface to bite you.

    • Notes From The Backseat · 1008 days ago

      The problem comes when you have a deployed spouse. The only reason I even still have a FB page is because the bulk of information regarding my husband and his unit in Afghanistan comes through our Unit FB page, including, but not limited to, photos of them down range, and thank you notes from the LTC regarding packages the FRGs have sent1 to the troops. There are legitimate needs to share, at times, but like I said, if it wasn't for my husband being deployed, I would not even have a FB page anymore. I would have gotten rid of it months ago and I would officially be "social media free"

    • JAllen · 974 days ago

      However, others can post photos of you and comments about you without your consent. Therefore I think that personal responsibility is not sufficient and it is neccessary to create public pressure on companies like Facebook and possibly also pressure towards legislation regulating the activities of such companies.

  8. John · 1182 days ago

    I know it is not that easy but does face book have the right to post every place we search to our walls? Seems like an invasion of privacy.

  9. branden · 1182 days ago

    facebook dosnt need to use ur wall posts or sell your identity staling someones (profile) aka an identity is rather quite easy just about as easy as copy and pasteing on any cpu editing software and making up a fake address or punching a random persons name into google and seeing what pops up if u want people toget ur identity they will get it if u dont want them to have it then thare not gettting it trust me i know the ins and outs of this its like second nature to me

  10. Freida Gray · 1182 days ago

    When I first started seeing this,I explained that Facebook going public only meant that the public could now buy stock in Facebook,not have access to their photos or posts..Now it has gotten so ridiculous that all I do is hide any such story & go about my business.

  11. Amir · 1182 days ago

    it all dont make a difference anyway. If the gov or any secret order wants your info, they already have it

  12. O J S · 1182 days ago

    Duh!! what going on??

  13. Daniel Spitzer · 1181 days ago

    I don't know what the copyright law is like up in Canada but n the United States of America you can declare privacy and the non-use of your creative words and likeness with just a statement like this. If you say "I do not give you permission to use my words or likeness for financial gain or public disclosure" in the USA you CAN NOT infringe on that whout a lawsuit on your hands.nWhat Facebook says in their TOS is that they will comply with Law Enforcement which is the law, but by pasting this notice in your USA profile will protect your data from ever becoming public if for any reason law enforcement need to collect info about your account.

    This also prevent other people that can see your account from using it publicly to defame or embarrass you.

    It may be a hoax in Canada but in the USA it's very legal (thank God).

    • Chester Wisniewski · 1181 days ago

      I wish that was true Daniel, but it's not. I am an American and have discussed this with friends that understand legal details. You are bound by the Terms of Service and you do not have the right to alter that contract. If you don't like what the ToS allows Facebook to do with your data, or anyone else who can see it, you need to stop using Facebook and close your account.

      • Per Bull Holmen · 1008 days ago

        He may not have the right to alter the contract, but how come THEY have that right, and not he? What are the precise legal arguments there?

        • Shawn · 1008 days ago

          It's because you don't own Facebook and you don't pay for Facebook. You're being allowed to use their site for free and have to follow their rules. Because they own it and you don't they have the right to change the rules pertaining to their site.

        • Nikki · 1008 days ago

          The fact that it's THEIR site and not his? The fact that THEY are providing him a free service that he chooses to utilize on THEIR terms? If he doesn't choose to abide by those rules, then he no longer has the privilege of using THEIR free site.

      • Notes From The Backseat · 1008 days ago

        TOS state that they are only allowed to give away your information when legally required to do so, so where's the warrant?

  14. Paul Sigler · 1180 days ago

    I just retired from the law and althugh taken from the UCC, which protects those whose states who do not have the rights therein in their states the Disclaimer not bogus. The UCC covers goods and services. Facebook would be a service. Terms of use do not override those places where people are protected by the UCC. Contracts are ony a part of of the UCC and cannot overrule law State or Federall aw. And because it is a publicly tradeed IPO it has to conform with the SEC. I really don't think it harms anone to put up. And the person whose States protection of words is correct. It is called Intellectual Property Law. I would have rather seen that kind of a warning. It is like buying some goods and getting a warranty saying you cannnot take any legal action againgst the manufacurer if it does not do what it is purposed to do. In many States that in not binding beacuse States have laws (like lemon laws on cars) that overrule the Warranty and so does the Federal Trade Commisssion..

    • Shawn · 1008 days ago

      Except you're not buying anything. You're being allowed to use a website owned by someone else at no charge to you. Much like if you were to use someone's studio to record a song, they would have a valid claim to ownership. You can't tell Facebook what they can and cannot use on their website that they allow you to use for free. Plus you are posting it to the internet. Google "public domain". Basically, if you want it to be private and you don't want someone else to use it, then don't put it on the internet. Now this obviously doesn't count when copyrights are previously in place but if they aren't you're submitting your thoughts, pictures or works of art to public domain.

  15. Paul Sigler · 1180 days ago

    Besides, Facebook does not have security worth a dime and I don't think that their new privacy will amount to much. They are very lax in answering complaints I have seen some 5 years unanswered.. Besides, the legal community is going to find some way to circumvent the Privacy Terms and the UCC or whomver else.

  16. Greg · 1180 days ago

    Gus is absolutely correct. The ToS is in effect a disclaimer that attempts to

    to absolve Facebook of any legal responsibility for misuse of it's service.

    even if it knows that this is probable. There are certain "rights" that can

    not be waived under any circumstances, whether by written consent or

    not. Therefore, simply agreeing to the terms of the ToS does not

    necessarily constitute a loss of these "rights."

    This was the tactic employed by the tobacco companies when they

    agreed to place warning labels on cigarette labels - you knew the danger when you bought them and as a result they are absolved of any

    responsibility for adverse effects caused by their use. This defense

    did not stand.

    It must be pointed out that the law gives equal weight to perceptions

    whether they are true or not and this concept would apply to privacy

    concerns. There are no obvious reasons for NOT attaching the privacy notices to each and every E-mail. Indeed, it might be necessary to

    demonstrate due diligence if a legal argument for harm to a user was


    • Paul Sigler · 1179 days ago

      You are right! It just should hav been better worded and mention the SEC and Intelectual Law, and possibly the UCC. But you are correct you in what you said.

  17. Greg · 1178 days ago

    It appears that a coordinated media release took place over the course of just a few days in an attempt to discredit the privacy notice and to discourage it's further use. The repetitive, unquestioned and inappropriate term "hoax" suggest that numerous outlets simply regurgitated prepared material.

  18. elmseeker · 1173 days ago

    This is what I have in my about me section as a warning. I know it's not very legalese but it will suffice.

    Notice: All original works created by myself and posted to this or any other site are copyrighted, Eric T. Benoit and may not be used for any purpose by any other person or entity with or without financial gain. All Rights are Reserved. Anyone violating my copyright can and WILL face me in a US court to defend themselves against copyright infringement charges.

  19. CHAIN POSTER · 1173 days ago

    READ ! This isnt fake. apparently, if u copy and paste this to ten comments in the next ten minutes u will have the best day of ur life tomorrow. u will either get kissed or asked out, if u break this chain u will see a little dead girl in your room tonight. in 53 mins someone will say i love you or im sorry

  20. Greg · 1171 days ago

    For all those people who are interested in how online social networks transmit Personally Identifiable Information (PII) to third party "aggregation" servers see: On the Leakage of Personally Identifiable Information by Krishnamurthy and Wills, Proceedings of the Workshop on Online Social Networks in Conjunction with ACM SIGCOMM, 2009.

    Readers in this thread should also be aware of the ongoing consolidated class action suit referenced under "Facebook Privacy Litigation," CV10-02389, United States District Court, Northern District of California, San Jose Division, Gould v. Facebook, Inc.and follow the case history to the present time using a law site such as Justia.com.

  21. Ethanmeyers · 1008 days ago

    To post a false statement on you "about me" section, only serves to marginalize your credibility. http://www.copyright.gov/title17/

  22. Ethanmeyers · 1008 days ago

    By the way... http://blog.ericgoldman.org/archives/2012/03/face...
    One "FACEBOOK PRIVACY LITIGATION" was dismissed.

  23. Dave Musgrove · 1008 days ago

    Thank you for getting people straight on the fact that when they signed the TOS they forfeited certain rights!

  24. Per Bull Holmen · 1008 days ago

    I still support the postings, actually, as mere sarcasm. But can anyone explain the legal side of this: I joined Facebook a long time ago, and agreed to their terms. We had a contract, Facebook and me. We were both parties in an agreement, and I thought that also meant some commitments on their side of the table. After that, I have invested a lot of time and effort in it, building up a friends list etc., that I wouldn't want to just toss away. But during this time, Facebook has several times, retroactively, CHANGED the terms that we once agreed to, every time to my disadvantage, merely by sending me a notice that what we agreed to is no longer valid. But if I simply state that I do not accept this, that I want to keep the agreement as it was when we BOTH agreed to it, my statement is null-n-void. What is the legal reasoning that makes this acceptable?

    It is not enough to say I can just cancel the membership if I don't agree to the new terms, because I have invested in this too, if not in money then in time and effort, as explained above. I have fulfilled my side of the agreement we actually agreed to. So, what are the precise legal arguments that make one side of the agreement able to retroactively change terms both sides have agreed on, with automatic effect, while the other side can't change it back to what they agreed on?

    Let's just put up a practical example: Before posting, I have to enter my e-mail address. It says on the page that the e-mail will NOT be displayed publicly. I would like that to be a BINDING agreement, so that you can not retroactively change the terms of thew agreement, and say that you WILL display my e-mail adress anyway. But Facebook is doing exactly that: Changing the terms AFTER the agreement has been made. How can they do that? Can I trust that you are not allowed to retroactively change the agreement, and display the e-mail address anyway?

    • Per Bull Holmen · 1008 days ago

      After discussing on Facebook, I think I found the answer myself. If Facebook wants to change their terms of use, I think they have to provide a new contract that you have to click "I agree" on to continue using the service. In that case, they are simply cancelling the old agreement, and offering a new one that you have to agree with to continue using the service. From time to time we get a notice from Facebook that their practice has changed, but I think that might only be within the limits that the contract has already established. I'm not sure about this, but I think that's it.

      Since you have spent much time on building the friends list, uploading photo albums etc., you might feel a bit powerless that way, but I guess they are legally on the safe side.

      But when I checked this, it raised one interesting question: If I write, say, a poem on Facebook, and share it with everyone, I am of course aware that everyone can read it for free, also outside of Facebook. That's the point of sharing something with everyone. But I wouldn't like, for instance, a newspaper to share it without making it clear who wrote it. Crediting it to just "A Facebook user" or making it look like they wrote it themselves. Or for Facebook to make an album of artistic pictures Facebook users have made, without crediting the users for it. But I guess they would be allowed to do this? That is sad. I can hear everyone now say: "If you don't want your pictures used like that, don't share them on Facebook" - but then again, it does make Facebook a less fun and creative place. It would be good, in that case, to have an option to share with "Everyone, but always credit the originator". Although technically anyone can still copy'n'paste, you would at least have a tiny bit of legal protection.

  25. Hmmm... I fold my arms and watch as things unfold. It's not compulsary to use facebook anyway.

  26. cate taylor · 1008 days ago

    I have a news feed full of people declaring copyright. Apart from being boring it just amazes me how people just check their brains at the sign in page.

  27. John smith · 1008 days ago

    mmm, this is a strange thing.
    If for example I take a picture of my mum, friend, dad, etc etc etc, the copyright of the picture belongs to me and not the person in the picture.

    If I then post that picture on Facebook then in theory the copyright according to the ToS reverts to them.

    However I have been told and informed that if you state in the photo that you here by retain the copyright of said picture in a written note on, around, besdie the photo, then this can in some cases supersceed the ToS of the site and will become a binding contract.

    this said regardless of how you try to protect yourself anything that you do put up on Facebook will if the government want to have it end up in their hands anyways, court order or (more often) not, whether Facebook, zuckerman or anyone else agrees or not.

    • John smith · 1008 days ago

      the only way to stay private these days is to have no internet access, no phone of any type, no TV, no car, no job, no government money, and live in a boat; you built yourself from stuff you found; out in the middle of the ocean living off of fish you catch with a rod and line you made yourself.

      face it we are always watched and nothing is private or personal anymore.

  28. Bill P · 1008 days ago

    This explains why it is a hoax...

    The message quotes the Uniform Commerical Code with the code "UCC 1-103 1-308" attached to the end. The UCC deals with commerical law in the United States, and nothing to do with privacy and social networking, meaning even if Facebook did not have its own terms of service, or even if posting the message did somehow supercede Facebooks terms of service, it would still be meaningless because it has nothing to do with online privacy.

    Posting the message makes NO difference to what Facebook - and others - can do with that data on your profile. When you sign up to Facebook you have to agree to their terms and conditions which includes Facebooks own privacy terms. The implication that Facebook users can make up their own privacy conditions merely by posting a message on their profile is NOT TRUE.

    Just because Facebook is now a publically traded website this does not affect what Facebook can or cannot do with the information you share on Facebook. You, and Facebook, are still bound to the same terms and conditions, and Facebook have to notify you regarding any significant changes to those terms. The term "publically traded" does not refer at all to how your data is treated on Facebook - i.e. this does not mean your information on Facebook is publically traded. It still has the same privacy conditions as before when Facebook was a private company. The term "publically traded" means that the public can buy Facebook shares on the stock market and that's it. Sorry...

  29. anonymous · 1008 days ago

    To all my facebook frineds that would like to stay PRIVATELY connected to me, please dont use facebook. Though I understand your concerns, I'm sorry, but I will not be manually changing the facebook settings for each and every one of you. If there are photos, comments, posts, etc. that you do not wish the whole world to see, you should not be putting them on the internet.

    If you agree with my comments, please paste this as your status and like it and share it with 30 million people and maybe a fairy will come to your house and grant you a wish and bring back your dead granny and introduce you to your soul mate and end World hunger.

  30. jean · 1007 days ago

    it appears we have only one option- remain on facebook and expect more advertising than we can deal with and more rubbish (mind you I can turn a blind eye to it all because over advertising just makes me mad and against a product - I am absolutely fed up with advertising and it is making TV totally not worth watching at present) or we can always delete our fb accounts and stop being part of it- a mass deletion (supposing 90% of users dropped out) the whole of the fb account would become worthless. Perhaps we should close our accounts and opt out for a while and see what happened when fb lost us. If enough like minded people who think their privacy policy is s**t left in droves, maybe we could take control over this loss of privacy and win

  31. uhuh · 1007 days ago

    You missed the spoof version. Awesome!

    In response to the new Facebook privacy guidelines I hereby declare that the company cannot perform any colonoscopy, endoscopy, or any other invasive procedure in my body. For commercial use of it, my written consent is needed at all times!

    (Anyone reading this text can copy and paste it on their Facebook Wall. This will place all their orifices under protection of legitimate rape laws. By the present communiqué, I notify Facebook that it is strictly forbidden to insert, violate, inseminate, or take any other action against my body on the basis of this profile and/or its contents. The aforementioned prohibited screwing actions also apply to employees, students, agents and/or any staff under Facebook’s direction or control. The content of my internal organs is private and confidential information. The violation of my private parts is punished by law (U-SCREW 6969 and the Roman Orgy Statute).

  32. Guest · 1007 days ago

    It may be a hoax but it conveys a message to FB. Simples

  33. Kevin · 787 days ago

    Sounds like a lot of people need to do some reading, as they understand neither copyright law nor the Facebook terms of service.

    Facebook Statement of Rights and Responsibilities: https://www.facebook.com/legal/terms

    "2. Sharing Your Content and Information

    You own all of the content and information you post on Facebook, and you can control how it is shared through your privacy and application settings.

    In addition:
    1. For content that is covered by intellectual property rights, like photos and videos (IP content), you specifically give us the following permission, subject to your privacy and application settings: you grant us a non-exclusive, transferable, sub-licensable, royalty-free, worldwide license to use any IP content that you post on or in connection with Facebook (IP License). This IP License ends when you delete your IP content or your account unless your content has been shared with others, and they have not deleted it."

    I'm not an attorney, but it seems to me that Facebook's terms of service say that:
    • YOU own the content you post on Facebook.
    • when you post that photo or whatever, you grant them a LICENSE to use it. That's not the same as giving up your copyright.
    • that license you grant Facebook is NON-EXCLUSIVE, which means it doesn't limit any of your rights to make use of the photo (or whatever)—that includes uses that make you money.
    • when you delete that photo (or whatever), Facebook's license to use it ENDS.

    That license you grant Facebook when you upload your photo (or whatever) is what makes it possible for your friends on Facebook to view it (assuming you have not set your privacy settings so that only you can see it). Otherwise, they would be infringing on your copyright by letting others see it.

    Copyright Law of the United States of America: http://www.copyright.gov/title17/

    Copyright Basics: http://www.copyright.gov/circs/circ01.pdf

    "Copyright protection subsists from the time the work is created
    in fixed form. The copyright in the work of authorship
    immediately becomes the property of the author who created
    the work."

    If you shot the photo, YOU own the photo. If you wrote the article, YOU own the article. (There are exceptions for work for hire, but those aren't part of this discussion.)

    "Any or all of the copyright owner’s exclusive rights or any
    subdivision of those rights may be transferred, but the transfer
    of exclusive rights is not valid unless that transfer is in
    writing and signed by the owner of the rights conveyed or
    such owner’s duly authorized agent. Transfer of a right on a
    nonexclusive basis does not require a written agreement."

    Basically, a signed document is the only way you give up your copyright, or any of the rights contained within. The exception is when you transfer the right(s) on a "nonexclusive basis"—i.e., you grant someone else the right to make use of your work while still retaining the rights to use it yourself during the licensing period. (Examples of exclusive licenses are the arrangements bands like Queen, The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, and Pink Floyd have with their current labels.)

  34. Freida Gray · 787 days ago

    I understand that Facebook being a "publicly traded entity" means that the public can now buy stock in Facebook.My Facebook friends who post this "hoax" probably don't understand that.I also understand that you have to pay for anything you want to copyright.My Facebook friends who post this "hoax" probably don't understand that.They further fail to understand that just saying that something is copyright protected doesn't make it true.In any court,they would have to present proof (i.e. a document) that backs up their claim of copyright protection.
    This notice may not be a "hoax" but it also isn't very effective at what it says it is supposed to do.

  35. Nothing new about this one.

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About the author

Chester Wisniewski is a Senior Security Advisor at Sophos Canada. He provides advice and insight into the latest threats for security and IT professionals with the goal of providing clear guidance on complex topics. You can follow Chester on Twitter as @chetwisniewski, on App.net as Chester, Chester Wisniewski on Google Plus or send him an email at chesterw@sophos.com.