New Facebook photo rule hoax spreads

Some hoaxes on Facebook are years old, but like a cat with nine lives they keep coming back again and again. This is certainly the case with this most recent hoax.

Fact-checking site Snopes is reporting on a hoax that concerns Meta’s use of our photos, messages and other posts on Facebook. Users are told in numerous ways to repost something that contains the phrase:

“I do not authorize META, Facebook or any entity associated with Facebook to use my photos, information, messages or posts, past or future.”

“Hello 🔵 It’s official. Signed at 8:44 PM. It was even on TV. Mine really turned blue. Don’t forget that tomorrow starts the new Facebook rule (aka… new name, META) where they can use your photos. Don’t forget the deadline is today!!!

I do not authorize META, Facebook or any entity associated with Facebook to use my photos, information, messages or posts, past or future.

With this statement, I notify Facebook that

it is strictly prohibited to disclose, copy, distribute or take any other action against me based on this profile and/or its contents. Violation of privacy may be punishable by law.

Here’s how to do it:

Hold your finger anywhere in this message and “copy” will appear. Click “copy”. Then go to your page, create a new post and place your finger anywhere in the empty field. “Paste” will appear and click Paste.

This will bypass the system….

He who does nothing consents.”

The first round of hoax posts similar to this one surfaced in 2012 (and have resurfaced many times since then). As you can see in this page on the Internet archives, Facebook even issued a statement about it:

“Fact Check

Copyright Meme Spreading on Facebook

There is a rumor circulating that Facebook is making a change related to ownership of users’ information or the content they post to the site. This is false. 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.”

It’s not a Real Thing

With all the—legitimate—concern around keeping personal data private, one can see why people fall for hoaxes like this. However, this copy-paste post does nothing. Facebook doesn’t get to “own” your content and you don’t need to make any declarations about copyright issues since the law already protects you.

Equally, Facebook users cannot retroactively negate any of the privacy or copyright terms they agreed to when they signed up for their accounts, simply by posting a contrary legal notice on to Facebook.

In other words, you agreed to Facebook’s terms of use and when you did, you provided Facebook with a right to use, distribute, and share the things you post, subject to the terms and applicable privacy settings. If that doesn’t sit well with you, it’s worth considering deactivating or deleting your Facebook account.

Sharing posts like this “just in case” continues the hoax and unnecessarily worries people who might see your post. If you’re not sure about whether you should share something, it’s worth googling the post’s text to check if there are any alerts about it.

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