Facebook Hoaxes - Know the Facts - Avoid Becoming a Victim

Posted on September 29, 2015.

You may have seen Facebook statuses made by your friends and/or family recently that made a statement about keeping your information private on Facebook.  One recent post falsely served as a “legal notice” to keep your information private after Facebook became a publicly traded company.  It looked something like this:

As of September 29th, 2015 at 12:50 p.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 and 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 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 If you do not publish a statement at least once it will be tactically allowing the use of your photos, as well as the information contained in the profile status updates.

A more recent post made the claim that Facebook was going to begin charging $5.99 to keep profile information and personal photos private.  The post stated the following:

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 (I said 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.

Both of these posts went viral yet neither were truthful in any way, shape, or form.  In order to not be tricked by these fake posts and avoid mockery from your friends and family in the comment section of your post, you need to know two very basic Facebook facts.

1. Facebook has the right to share and distribute your posts but does not own them.
When you join Facebook you need to agree to their policies.  You must do so in order to create a page so if you already have a page, then you have already agreed to the policy and no matter what you post as your status you will still have agreed to Facebook’s policy.  While Facebook does indeed have the right to share and distribute your posts, it’s not as malicious as it may sound.  That is only in regards to using their site to share your photos to family and friends.  They are not using your pictures or posts to directly generate revenue or plan on threatening to use them for revenue unless you pay to keep them private. Also, remember that you can change who sees your posts, pictures, personal information and more in the privacy settings on Facebook at any time.  

2. Facebook CEOs have continued to stress that it will always be a free service
You may have wondered how Facebook makes money considering that no one has to pay for an account.  While this is true, Facebook pulls in a lot of revenue from businesses that advertise on the site and games that sell “in-game upgrades”.  With this business model, they want to have as many users on the site as possible.  If more users are on the site, then more businesses will want to pay for advertising and more people will purchase upgrades in Facebook games.

The next time you see a post that claims you can prevent Facebook from sharing your posts or that you need to pay to keep your information private or use Facebook in general then do a quick Google search to see if it’s true.  We can be almost certain that it will be a hoax but stranger things have happened in the online community.  It’s always better to be safe than sorry!