Watch CBS News

Viral "Facebook privacy notice" is a hoax

A sample of the viral Facebook privacy notice that spread around in the spring of 2012. Facebook personal photo

(CBS News) Facebook users may have seen a status update masquerading as a legally-binding privacy notice in their news feeds in the last month.

Those hoping for a little bit of protection for their photos, videos and status updates may be disappointed. There are several versions of the notice - all of them suggesting that by making a declaration, somehow their content is protected. That is simply not true.

The myth-busting site debunked the viral status update on Monday, saying that the disclaimer will not provide privacy protection on Facebook.

Here's a comprehensive sample of the privacy notice posted at Slate:

For those of you who do not understand the reasoning behind this posting, 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.

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

Snopes makes two points: Facebook members must agree to the social network's legal terms before they can even create a profile and Facebook's status as a public company does not affect who the site is monitored.

The fact is that Facebook members own the intellectual property (IP) that is uploaded to the social network, but depending on their privacy and applications settings, users grant the social network "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)."

Facebook adds, "[t]his 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."

While the social network does not technically own its members content, it has the right to use anything that is not protected with Facebook's privacy and applications settings. For instance, photos, videos and status updates set to public are fair game.

As far as content rights between Facebook members go, it is against the social network's policy for users to infringe on each other's IP rights.

Follow the links for more information on Facebook's legal terms and privacy.

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.