Facebook has issued a statement in response to a privacy furore taking place on the social networking site, warning users that copying and pasting a stream of legalese to their wall will do nothing to alter the copyright status of content posted there.
First spotted earlier this year, the viral message has come back with a vengeance: over the last week, thousands of the site’s users have taken the step of copying and pasting a poorly-written dissertation of copyright in response to claims that Facebook has silently modified its terms and conditions to take full control of all its users’ personal data and content.
“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),” the message, which includes a paragraph encouraging users to copy and paste the post to their own walls, reads. “For commercial use of the above my written consent is needed at all times! By the present communiqué, I notify Facebook that it is strictly forbidden to disclose, copy, distribute, disseminate, or take any other action against me on the basis of this profile and/or its contents. The aforementioned prohibited actions also apply to employees, students, agents and/or any staff under Facebook’s direction or control. The content of this profile is private and confidential information. The violation of my privacy is punished by law (UCC 1 1-308-308 1-103 and the Rome Statute).”
Facebook has issued a statement of its own on the matter, dismissing the message as a ‘meme’ – a term used to refer to content spread from person to person on the internet, typically without fact-checking. “There is a rumour circulating that Facebook is making a change related to ownership of users’ information or the content they post to the site. This is false,” the company has stated. “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.”
Users of Facebook are encouraged to ignore the exhortation to post the copyright disclaimer to their walls, treating it instead as any other chain message and ignoring it outright.
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