Don’t bother posting this privacy notice to your Facebook account. It’s a hoax

Graham Cluley
Graham Cluley
@[email protected]

Facebook hoaxHere we go again.

A hoax is being unwittingly spread by Facebook users.

In fact, this particular hoax has been spreading for years in various forms. And right now it’s having something of a resurgence.

According to the hoax, simply posting a message to your Facebook account means that Facebook will be legally forbidden to use your postings or information without your permission.

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Facebook privacy hoax

Here is an example of one of the latest versions of the hoax message that is being widely distributed:

Due to the fact that Facebook has chosen to involve software that will allow the theft of my personal information, I state: at this date of January 4, 2015, in response to the new guidelines of Facebook, pursuant to articles L.111, 112 and 113 of the code of intellectual property, I declare that my rights are attached to all my personal data drawings, paintings, photos, video, texts etc. published on my profile and my page. For commercial use of the foregoing my written consent is required at all times.

Those who read this text can do a copy/paste on their Facebook wall. This will allow them to place themselves under the protection of copyright. By this statement, I tell Facebook that it is strictly forbidden to disclose, copy, distribute, broadcast, or take any other action against me on the basis of this profile and or its content. The actions mentioned above also apply to employees, students, agents and or other personnel under the direction of Facebook.

The content of my profile contains private information. The violation of my privacy is punishable by law (UCC 1-308 1-308 1-103 and the Rome Statute).

Facebook is now an open capital entity. All members are invited to publish a notice of this kind, or if they prefer, you can copy and paste this version.

If you have not published this statement at least once, you tacitly allow the use of elements such as your photos as well as the information contained in the profile update.

I’m afraid, however, that posting this status message to your Facebook account doesn’t make a blind bit of difference.

When you created your Facebook account you agreed to the site’s privacy policy, terms and conditions.

Some versions of the message claim that the messages have been given credence by BBC News or US TV channel reports. That’s simply not true.

In short – don’t believe everything you read on the internet, and do your research before you cut-and-paste messages like this to your family and friends. It’s possible that you are just helping a hoax to perpetuate.

If you don’t like how Facebook uses your data, then you can adjust your privacy settings and… if that’s not enough… you should perhaps permanently delete your account before more of your data is used in a way that you’re not comfortable with.

If you are on Facebook, and want to be kept updated with news about security and privacy risks, and tips on how to protect yourself online, join the Graham Cluley Security News Facebook page.

Graham Cluley is an award-winning keynote speaker who has given presentations around the world about cybersecurity, hackers, and online privacy. A veteran of the computer security industry since the early 1990s, he wrote the first ever version of Dr Solomon's Anti-Virus Toolkit for Windows, makes regular media appearances, and is the co-host of the popular "Smashing Security" podcast. Follow him on Twitter, Mastodon, Threads, Bluesky, or drop him an email.

6 comments on “Don’t bother posting this privacy notice to your Facebook account. It’s a hoax”

  1. But what does this have to do with computer security? It's an old and totally benign nuisance but nothing more.

    1. Cody · in reply to Jason Shaw

      The issue is simple:

      Too many take things on Facebook as fact. And that is risky because it often is abused by scammers (and otherwise those wanting to abuse the fact). So no, it isn't only an old nuisance ('nuisance' is keyword and I would argue 'old' is fairly relative because facebook isn't exactly old) and no it isn't only benign (this specific example might not be harmful in that nothing will occur (except showing yourself to being very gullible and naive, that is), but the problem is it is the concept, not a specific instance of). The concept is a problem. The problem is related to security, too.

    2. Graham CluleyGraham Cluley · in reply to Jason Shaw

      In a way all hoaxes and chain letters are a form of spam, clogging up systems, using bandwidth, getting in the way of legitimate communications. Even if they are not trying to peddle goods or trying to sell you a fake doctorate, it's still something that we'd be better off without.

      And then there's the issue of how these things waste folks' time, and send them on wild goose chases…

      If people learnt to be more suspicious of what they read on the internet, maybe a lot of more dangerous internet attacks would find it harder to succeed.

  2. Cody

    When you created your Facebook account you agreed to the site’s privacy policy, terms and conditions.

    I was thinking similar except I didn't know the whole list wrt Facebook (because I don't use it). Even then, simply copying and pasting something isn't binding, most certainly not legally binding.

  3. Haggis

    It's a complete joke, a quick google search shows its a hoax, but alas a lot of people are idiots

  4. Pete

    If it was serious, it would be written in 'proper' English. Much of the 'statement' is meaningless garbage to anyone with a reasonable command of the language, and is therefore immediately suspect. As has been pointed out, if you read the privacy statement, you will discover that whatever you publish on Facebook, they can keep in perpetuity even if you subsequently delete it from the site. Use Facebook – kiss your privacy goodbye. If you don't want the world to see the pictures you took of yourself naked, don't put them on Facebook (or anywhere else online!).

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