That Facebook Privacy Notice Status Update You All Keep Posting is Useless and Dumb, So Please Stop

LONDON, ENGLAND - MARCH 25: In this photo illustration the Social networking site Facebook is displayed on a laptop screen on March 25, 2009 in London, England. The British government has made proposals which would force Social networking websites such as Facebook to pass on details of users, friends and contacts to help fight terrorism. (Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)
Source: Dan Kitwood/Getty Images News/Getty Images

It seems like every couple of months, there's some kind of Facebook panic that results in everyone, including your smartest friends, posting Facebook statuses warning against the myriad ways that Facebook's new policies will invade your privacy. The new year hasn't bucked that trend, with 2015 getting off to a rip roaring start with Facebook users posting status updates about more alleged privacy violations. The hysterical status making the rounds right now reads a lot like a spam email, demanding that users copy and paste the status to their own wall, lest they be sucked into Facebook's evil ownership vortex. It says:

"As of January 5th, 2015 at 10:50am Eastern standard time. I do not give Facebook or any entities associated with Facebook permission to use my pictures, information, or posts, both past and future. By this statement I give notice to Facebook it is strictly forbidden to disclose, copy, distribute or take any other action against me based on this profile is private and confidential information. The violation of privacy can be punished by law (UCC 1-308-11 308-103 and Rome statute). NOTE: Facebook is now a public entity. All members must post a note like this. If you prefer, you can copy and paste this version. If you do not publish this statement at least once it will be tactically allowing the use of your photos, as well as information contained in the profile status updates. DO NOT SHARE you MUST copy and paste to make this I will leave a comment so it will be easier to copy and paste!!!"

It should be obvious enough that this is a hoax, and that posting the status won't do diddly squat. Firstly, your Facebook content is not at risk. You own and control your Facebook content, in perpetuity. They even say so themselves:

“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.”

Sure, Facebook uses an algorithm to track your Internet usage to pepper your feed with ads, but you still own all your photos. So posting the status isn't giving you protection because there's nothing you need to be protected from in the first place.

I always wonder about these sorts of chain postings (ones which direct users to post and repost them under threat that if they're don't, something bad will happen); who starts them, and more importantly, why? What benefit is it to anyone for something like this to be going around? Is it just so some bored troll can have a laugh at everyone's expense? Nothing is being sold or promoted, so starting something like this seems like a gratuitous act of trolling, which leads me to believe there are just too many people out there with too much time on their hands. Look at this brand new truth about the bleak reality of humans and their boredom I've uncovered! Give me all the social science prizes!


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