You've Already Granted Facebook to All Your Content: But Here's What You Should Worry About

Ah, viral stories on Facebook – from there are cancerous plastic in your potato chips to someone has been keepings AIDS infected needles in movie theaters or this Halloween your kids’ candies will be spiked with some methamphetamine drugs – they have virtually no end. As creative and sometimes obviously incorrect they sound, an unfortunate number of people fail to use the magical power of Google to find out what’s the reality behind these viral topics. In a surprising resurgence of a viral post (that was repeated in the exact same words a few years ago) reads a variation of

“From *today’s date and time*, I don't give Facebook permission or permission to use my pictures, my information or my publications, both of the past as the future, mine or the ones where I appear. By this statement, I give my notice to Facebook it is strictly forbidden to disclose, copy, distribute, give, sell my information, photos or take any other action against me on the basis of this profile and / or its contents. The content of this profile is private and confidential information. The violation of privacy can be punished by law (UCC 1-308-1 1 308-103 and the 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If you do not publish a statement at least once, you've given the tacit agreement allowing the use of your photos, as well as the information contained in the updates of state of profile.
Do not share. You have to copy and paste.”

Needless to say, a Facebook post isn’t your best source to verify about new laws or policies. The above statement and whatever it’s supposed to say is absolutely incorrect. There is no clue so far about the origins or purpose of such posts except possibly to serve as an IQ test to your friend list and helping you decide exactly how dumb can your friends be.

How do you verify posts like these in the future?

A simple glance at the statement releves logical fallacies. The UCC 1-308-1 1 308-103 and the Rome statute have absolutely nothing to do with Facebook or privacy or copyright. You can just Google such terms to find out more.

Further, you can verify seemingly viral ideas stories through dedicated myth busting websites like Snopes.com. They regularly track viral stories and reach their logical end to provide you with the truth behind viral posts.

Most importantly, there’s no country on the planet that takes Facebook posts are legally binding contracts. Neither does Facebook itself take posts binding to itself. If there were a secret code or message to post that would make your terms and conditions alter, why wouldn’t Facebook just ask you to review it before using their website in the first place, in the form of a giant banner and an email notification like it always does whenever there’s a new feature launched?

So Facebook doesn’t own my photographs?

Unfortunately, each and every content you have ever posted on Facebook, including but not limited to every message you’ve ever sent to anyone, any post, any photograph, video you’ve posted, any note created, music produced or quiz generated has automatically been given to Facebook for completely free to use in whatever way it wants.  It says so literally in the top of the terms and conditions you agreed to while joining Facebook in the first place and can be accessed by going to https://www.facebook.com/terms

Quoting, “For content that is covered by intellectual property rights, like photos and videos (IP content), you specifically give us 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 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.”

No, you cannot do anything about it, even if you place a fancy watermark or copyright notice on/in it.

Can I steal other’s Facebook data without permission?

While you’ve granted Facebook the right to use all your media in anyway they like, you still own the copyright to your content. Nobody apart from Facebook can legally steal your data and both Facebook as well other your local country/international law is pretty clear about copyright infringement. So no, you cannot use others’ Facebook data without permission.

It’s vitally important to understand the way privacy works in the digital age. Facebook provides you a free platform to connect and share to virtually an endless amount of personal media, in exchange for using your data as they claim for “research, market analyses and marketing”, but since they’re legally allowed to sell this to anyone they please, its always a nice idea to remember exactly what you post. Of course, even though Facebook is one of the most painfully slow process websites to tackle copyright infringement, legally speaking, you still can face a huge fine and/or jail time for copyright infringement (depending upon your country), so its best to avoid copying others media.

Did you fall for this viral scheme or were you smart enough to avoid doing so? Let us know in the comments on our official Facebook page Entrepreneur India

Edition: November 2016

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