Last week we reported on Facebook’s new privacy policies and how they could lead to external marketing. Over the weekend a lot of Facebook users started copying and pasting a statement about how their content cannot be used without their consent. This happens every time Facebook changes their privacy policies, and the gesture of copying and pasting a statement saying your content is protected is as useless now as ever. Please stop. Your friends who know better are getting annoyed.
Just in case your Facebook friends are less prone to falling for this sort of thing than ours are, here’s the copy of the post:
In response to the new Facebook guidelines I 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 If you do not publish a statement at least once, you will be tacitly allowing the use of elements such as your photos as well as the information contained in your profile status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.
This new round of meaningless legal-sounding copy may sound more convincing than previous incarnations because it cites things like the “The Berner Convention” and “The Rome Statute.” And if “The Berner Convention” ever happened, that might mean something. There was never a Berner Convention, but there was a Berne Convention though, and that happened in 1886 in Switzerland and has no bearing on what Facebook does with your content.
As far as the Rome Statute? That’s a United Nations treaty that created the International Criminal Court to stop major crimes like genocide and human trafficking — not to keep Facebook from claiming ownership of your cat pictures. You can read the whole thing on the UN’s site. It doesn’t mention Facebook at all.
The only legal document that applies to this situation is the Facebook User Agreement we all clicked without reading when we signed up for an account. You can go back and read it now if you’d like, but there’s nothing you can post in your status that changes it.
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