Can a Facebook status update protect your online content?

Recently, one of the more frustrating viral posts has resurfaced on social media. In short, it claims that Facebook has updated their privacy policies, and that by COPY AND PASTING (for some reason) a specific, vaguely-legal sounding claim you can protect your information. If you’re a glutton for punishment, here’s the full post that you must copy verbatim (including the beginning, end, and timestamp for some reason).

Channel 13 News was just talking about this change in Facebook’s privacy policy. Better safe than sorry. As of September 28th , 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 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 If you do not publish a statement at least once it will be tactically allowing the use of your photos, as well as the information contained in the profile status updates. DO NOT SHARE. You MUST copy and paste.

Sounds good, huh? The people fighting against big-brother Facebook to keep their content from evildoers?

Too bad it will do absolutely nothing for you (aside from annoy your friends).


Breaking it Down

I’ve posted a response almost every time this message has come up over the past few years. I remember a version of it back on Myspace, and as annoying trends tend to do, it just won’t die no matter how many statuses I comment on, or links I send. Regardless of the effort, people (and sometimes even the SAME people) post it again when it makes the rounds the next six months.

So, with the ultimate effort of informing anyone who reads this (and also giving me a quick link that I can share next time), let’s dissect the key issues that bug me each and every time I see this post.

The actual content & using critical thinking

To save you from my longform, I’m just going to jump right in to some of the odd (and sometimes ridiculous) statements in the post.

Channel 13 News was just talking about this change in Facebook’s privacy policy. Better safe than sorry.

I live in Cincinnati, Ohio. I don’t know about the rest of the nation, but I do know that I see this one a lot from people who, like me, ALSO live in Cincinnati. This is particularly confusing for me, because below is a list of major news stations and their corresponding station numbers:

  • Channel 5: WLWT (NBC)
  • Channel 9: WCPO (ABC)
  • Channel 12: WKRC (CBS)
  • Channel 19: WXIX (Fox)

I WILL acknowledge that some providers may show Channel 13 as WCET (another PBS channel), though there isn’t a news broadcast.

Better safe than sorry.

“Better heard than informed.” Also, encourages people to not research and just repost for safety’s sake.

As of September 28th , 2015 at 01:16 a.m. Eastern standard time

Why specify? If it’s to coincide with a rollout or something, then let’s think… Why would Facebook choose 1:16 AM EST?

NOTE: Facebook is now a public entity.

Well, it’s been on the stock market for a couple years now…

If you prefer, you can copy and paste this version.

DO NOT SHARE. You MUST copy and paste.

What happened to the choice?

If you do not publish a statement at least once it will be tactically allowing the use of your photos

Tactically. Tactically. They’re going Delta Force on your data.

Let’s talk about those references

This is the most irritating part – in the post, two legal articles are referenced: UCC 1-308- 1 1 308-103 and The Rome Statute. A quick Google search shows the following:

UCC 1-308- 1 1 308-103

Just go ahead and plug that in the search engine of choice. Even after you wade through the hundreds of articles saying that this exact case is a fraud, we can semi-trace it back to something called the Berne Convention, which DOES have to do with copyright law. However, it’s more on international use, by foreign entities, and only applies under certain conditions (like if you were a professional photographer or corporation). No United Nations council is going to care about your “Me ‘n tha Galzzz” album.

The Rome Statute

The Rome Statute, on the other hand, has absolutely no connection. This treaty is in regards to the International Criminal Court and their jurisdictions – specifically establishing the four core international crimes that they’re able to intervene on. If you’re curious:

  1. Genocide
  2. Crimes Against Humanity (not as fun as the closely-named card game)
  3. War Crimes
  4. Crimes of Aggression

So… Unless Facebook is using your photos to fuel their secret genocide machine, what a stretch.

How to ACTUALLY protect your content

Don’t worry, curious readers – I won’t leave you without a solution! There’s one foolproof way that you can keep your information, photos, and digital content private…

Don’t post it online.

Not on Facebook, not on Google, not on your own website. The second you upload it, it’s essentially out of your hands. Yes, we do have ways of actually enforcing copyright law online – there’s a whole government task force dedicated to the cause, but consider something… In 2014, a huge series of risque celebrity photographs were posted online in a serious violation of privacy. With all of their lawyers and all of the money in the world at their disposal, how is it that we can still do a quick search and get exactly what we’re looking for?

It’s time to accept the fact, everyone – the internet isn’t private. With our always-online world, nothing is private anymore, and there’s no sign in sight that it will change. Although you could pull an Obi-Wan and become a hermit in the hills, there’s an easier way around all of this.

Instead of posting recklessly and trying to hide behind genocide laws and UN declarations, I propose we post only what we want people to see. Suddenly, instead of filtering through eight million baby pictures followed by “My WiLd WeEkEnD” shots, our timelines will be filled with insightful posts filled with meaning. We’ll actually share art, or humor, or real information…

What a wonderful world that would be.

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