Facebook and the Privacy Hoax

by ‎11-26-2012 10:29 AM - edited ‎11-26-2012 10:31 AM

safe_image.jpgHave you seen this in your Facebook “News Feed”? “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!”


 Yes, there is such a thing as the Berne (not Berner) Convention. Yes, its an international agreement regarding copyright protection.  No, it doesn’t cover your birthday greetings and status updates on Facebook. When you joined Facebook (or any online service) you accepted the Terms of Use or clicked “Agree” on an End-User License Agreement. I will bet that most of you never read the contract you entered in; you just scrolled down until the button to “Accept” or “Agree” was available to click on. That’s pretty normal behavior in this busy, online world, so don’t feel bad.


Robert Scoble: If you are posting about copyright on Facebook and you haven't done your research, you are an idiot.” 


I’m only bringing this up because it’s privacy hoax season again on Facebook. Every time Facebook updates their privacy policy or user agreement (as they did just before Thanksgiving), there’s a wave of posts on Facebook from users intent on “protecting their posts” with a copyright. The problem is the contract you are in with Facebook doesn’t work that way. They wrote the terms, you accepted them and now you want to change them by displaying new content. How would you know they had clicked “Accept” on those proposed changes? In fact, they won’t and they don’t. Nothing you post is going to change the agreement you have entered in so you’re merely displaying your naiveté and ability to cut and paste on your status line.


Facebook spokesperson Andrew Noyes: “…when you post things like photos to Facebook, we do not own them…you grant Facebook permission to use, distribute, and share the things you post, subject to the terms and applicable privacy settings."


Please don’t take my word for this. I don’t claim to be a legal expert, though the two business law classes I took in grad school were great. And before you start complaining about privacy on a social networking service you can easily stop using, make sure you’re already using the right privacy settings to keep your posts and activity limited to those you wish to share in them. Click the down arrow (upside down triangle) next to your name and the word “Home” on Facebook, select Privacy Settings and make your selections as appropriate to your needs. For example, I limit my posts to “Friends”. You can do far more than that, such as limit old posts, but be sure to read carefully any warnings before you do so.


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. Click here to learn more - www.facebook.com/policies"


Read more in ABCnews, Slate, ITWorld, PCWorld,  NYDailyNews, Forbes,  and of course on the myth-busting web resource Snopes.com (currently so beset by requests on this topic, it can take a while for the page to load.)


by on ‎11-27-2012 02:02 PM

And just for fun from the College Humor website:


by chriscrosby on ‎11-28-2012 12:21 PM

Hi Marian, thanks for the great post. We did a short video on the topic and explained some of the potential privacy implications of Facebooks proposed changes to their Data Use Policy. Other communities members might find it informational http://sociallyactive.com/what-was-behind-the-recent-facebook-privacy-hoax/

by mgrafuen on ‎11-28-2012 04:40 PM

by mgrafuen (11-28-2012 ) @ 7:40 PM


Hi Marian,

How do you get rid of " Newsfeeds " in your face book. This this so annoying that I am planning to cancel my face book account. I have to delete each one of them and report it as a spam but nothing seems corrected or deleted. It keeps coming back. Need help.

by Markmedsur1 on ‎12-15-2012 04:04 PM

I can log into everything on the net except facebook.  I don't know if its a glitch or not but I sense it might be somebody putting a halt or a virus on my name in facebook.

by tech2264 on ‎12-17-2012 04:58 PM

Hello Marian,

I am a Norton member for a long time. I inadvertently send virus disguised app called "Sent you a heart, Sent one back" on Facebook. One of my friends comment to me stating she got a virus when she open the app. Normally Norton would detected any issue with the apps. I notified to all my other friends on my Facebook friends' list. I thought Facebook checked these apps before they are release on the site. Can you do a follow up on this "virus"? So I can notified my friends.

by on ‎01-25-2013 09:29 AM

hi Mark - check to be sure no one else is accessing your Facebook. You can go into the security settings and configure your Facebook account so you are NOTIFIED if a new device (such as a hacker's) accesses your account. Check which email addresses are registered to it. If you still can't log in, you need to report it to Facebook, which you can do on their site. They will validate your id with your personal info used when you creasted the account. If you continue to have issues, you can email me at marian at norton.com.


Tech2264, be sure to add the Norton Safe Web app on Facebook. It will monitor your links on Facebook and alert you to dangerous ones. But  if an approved Facebook app is problematic, you must report it to Facebook. My guess is this was a link leading to a dangerous, malware laden site. With Norton Safe Web, that shouldn't happen but know that Facebook is also working diligently to get rid of these bad links too. Make sure if the link is in your newsfeed, you go back and delete it to protect ALL your friends.