Facebook: Despite Alarmist Statuses, We Still Don’t Own Your ContentBy: Josh Wolford - June 5, 2012
Facebook has taken it upon themselves to comment on a recent viral status update that you may or may not have seen floating around your parts in the past couple of days.
The status varies a bit, but usually takes the form of accusing Facebook of being unfriendly towards privacy now that they are a publicly traded company. The status urges people to copy and repost a statement which serves as a homemade terms of service disallowing “anyone” from “utilizing any profile information or any of the content contained herein.”
Here’s that status as it may appear on your news feed:
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 allow…ing 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
Like I said, the actual statuses can vary, but that’s the general message behind all of them. Of course, the Facebook IPO has nothing to do with a change in the company’s Statement of Rights and Responsibilities, or their Data Use Policy. Although Facebook is currently holding its second-ever Site Governance Vote on proposed changes to these documents, it has nothing to do with the fact that they are now publicly traded.
Plus, it probably doesn’t even need to be mentioned how pointless it is to post your own set of terms and conditions in a status.
Facebook has responded to this viral status in a post from their Facebook and Privacy page:
A trip to Facebook’s Statement on Rights and Responsibilities reminds us of their policy regarding all the content you share on the site.
“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,” they say.
By posting content covered by IP rights (photos, videos, and such), you agree to “give [Facebook] 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 permission ends when you delete your content, unless of course it has been shared with friends and still resides with them. Plus, you should always remember that when you share content publicly – it’s public. That means that basically anyone and everyone has access to that content. They might not “own” it outright, but they can sure as hell use it.
Reading the privacy terms and managing your account to suit your own purposes is advised. Making up your own policy terms and posting them in a status is going to do nothing but annoy most of your friends.