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Facebook’s ever-changing privacy policies have prompted much user concern (sometimes rightly so) when new updates are made or the social network avails itself for the first time of clauses — and this week, you have likely seen a viral and pervasive status update prompting you to protect your legal rights in the digital world by yourself reposting a cut-and-paste Facebook privacy declaration.

The Facebook privacy status meme has been spreading like wildfire — doubtlessly in part due to the fact Facebook users have been unpleasantly surprised in the past by secrets buried in Facebook’s Terms of Service or user agreements pertaining to privacy.

Given Facebook’s propensity to switch its workings around in ways that cause information “leaks” (for example, contextual ad targeting has been suggested as a possible weak spot for user data leakage), it’s not surprising that many users have fallen prey to the hope that a catch-all post to their Facebook wall citing a bunch of official-sounding statutes and terms might dissuade the social network from using their data in potentially undesirable ways.

Alas, the Facebook privacy status update currently circulating offers no protection legally, regardless of how authoritative it sounds. Ultimately, all your Facebook data — private and public alike — falls under the auspices of the site’s extensive Terms Of Service, a set of terms to which you must agree in order to become a member of the site.

Typically, end-user agreements such as this dictate how a service like Facebook is entitled to use your information, whether it is collected directly (as in, supplied by you) or indirectly, such as the information picked up by the social network in your daily Facebooking habits.

The site’s algorithms are clever and perceptive, and it’s worth noting that much of what Facebook’s dossier on you reflects may not even be the fill-in information you choose to disclose, such as marital status or location.

The current Facebook privacy policy status update meme seems to have been sparked by another pending change to Facebook’s privacy policy, and like any other Terms Of Service agreement, the best way to learn of what the changes to the network will entail is to read through the updates. (The current set of changes to Facebook’s privacy guidelines appears to involve more sharing with advertisers, which is not a massive divergence from the old terms.)

As it stands, there is no way to except oneself from the Facebook Terms Of Service save from abstaining from the social network altogether — certainly an unattractive prospect in this day and age.

Below is the full text of the Facebook privacy policy hoax, as it appears most commonly on Facebook.

“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.”