If you’ve been noticing any strange, long-winded status updates on your Facebook feed that mention copyrights or a new, paid Facebook service, you might want to read this before posting anything else.
What you’re seeing is your Facebook friends falling, yet again, for another copyright protection hoax. These hoaxes take the form of posts that appear to offer users a way out of Facebook’s latest privacy or setting changes, and are always loaded with a bunch of legal jargon to give them the appearance of seeming legit.
Every once in a while these posts go viral, and users think they’ve somehow found an easy way to beat the system and outsmart Mark Zuckerberg through a paltry little paragraph one can simply copy and paste.
Well guess what? You haven’t. Facebook still owns you, and when you copy and paste these posts to your own status, what you’re really announcing to the world is “I fell for it.”
The latest post has taken two forms. Here’s what they look like:
“Now it’s official! It has been published in the media. Facebook has just released the entry price: $5.99 to keep the subscription of your status to be set to ‘private.’ If you paste this message on your page, it will be offered free (paste not share) if not tomorrow, all your posts can become public. Even the messages that have been deleted or the photos not allowed. After all, it does not cost anything for a simple copy and paste.”
Or, our personal favourite:
“As of September 26th , 2015 at 01:16 a.m. Eastern standard time, I do not give Facebook or any entities associated with Facebook permission to use my pictures, information, or posts, both past & future. By this statement, I give notice to Facebook it is strictly forbidden to disclose, copy, distribute, or take any other action against me based on this profile and/or its contents. The content of this profile is private & confidential information. The violation of privacy can be punished by law (UCC 1-308- 1 1 308-103 & the Rome Statute). NOTE: Facebook is now a public entity. All members must post a note like this. If you prefer, you can copy & paste this version. If you do not publish a statement at least once it will be tacitly allowing the use of your photos, as well as the information contained in the profile status updates. DO NOT SHARE. You MUST copy & paste.”
Both of these are complete and utter BS. Do not fall for them.
The only way to truly safeguard your information and guarantee that your content solely belongs to you, is to delete your account (sorry, it’s the truth). Assuming most of us don’t want to do that, we’ll take you through some steps that can give you more control of your content, which will at least make you feel like you still own it.
To be clear, Facebook’s Statement of Rights and Responsibilities outlines that you indeed own all content and information you post to the social network, but that ownership doesn’t actually mean anything because the social network adds that “you grant us a non-exclusive, transferable, sub-licensable, royalty-free, worldwide licence to use any IP content [such as photos and videos] that you post on or in connection with Facebook.”
In other words, Facebook basically owns your content. But when you post things to its public network, you actually allow everyone, even people who don’t use the site, to access and use the information. Here’s how to stop that:
1) Facebook now comes with a nifty little “Privacy shortcuts” button in the top right corner of the screen. It looks like this:
2) Hit that button and then click “Privacy checkup.” Then under “Who would you like to see your posts?” select “more options” and then “custom.”
3) You should get a window that, by default, should say your content is currently being shared to your friends only (if it says “public” instead, it’s a good thing you’re here). However, there’s also a checkbox next to “friends of tagged.” You want to uncheck that, so that random friends of your friends can’t see your stuff.
4) Now you want to make sure your profile is secure. Go back to the Privacy Checkup tab, click “Who can see my stuff” then go down to the “What do other people see on my timeline?” Now you can view your own profile as if you were a
5) Last thing (and this is being extra cautious): Facebook tracks everything and everyone you search. Which means the holy grail of your embarrassment is tucked away somewhere on the site. To get rid of it, go back to Privacy Checkup -> Who can see my stuff, except this time click “Use activity log” (second option on the list).
On the left hand side will be a column marked “filters.” Near the bottom of the list you will see “Photos,” “likes” and “comments.” Click “more,” and scroll down to “search” at the very bottom. Once you’ve clicked that, on the top right corner will appear “clear search.”
And that’s it! Facebook can still do whatever it wants with your content, but now you’ve secured it to the absolute best of your ability.