Over the past 48 hours you might have noticed the recurring presence of a verbose copy-and-pasted message heavy in legal-speak come up in your Facebook feed, claiming that any content Facebook users post to their profile is protected under Copyright law.
The message looked like this:
Before you copy it onto your own page you should know that the information is actually FALSE, something the Facebook Newsroom confirmed today with a ‘Fact Check’ statement addressing the viral post:
“There is a rumor circulating that Facebook is making a change related to ownership of users’ information or the content they post to the site. This is false. 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.”
Remember when you signed up to Facebook you had to agree to the Terms of Service? – probably not, because it was 2008, Facebook was considered the lesser info-sharing cousin of MySpace, and most people hurried through ticking boxes in the ‘Terms of Service’ section so they could see how fat their ex had gotten – however, when you did agree to the terms, you in turn agreed to the following (via section 2: ‘Sharing Content and Information’):
“For content that is covered by intellectual property rights, like photos and videos (IP content), you specifically give us the following permission, subject to your privacy and application settings: you grant us a non-exclusive, transferrable, sub-licensable, royalty-free, worldwide license to use any IP content that you post on or in connection with Facebook.”
Essentially, you have a user contract with Facebook that overrides any jargon-y legalese you can post on your wall such as the above. It’s all part of being a Facebook user, for better (ENJOY THE PHOTOS OF EVERY ONE OF MY HOLIDAY MEALS EVERYONE!!) or worse (ENJOY THE PHOTOS OF EVERY ONE OF MY HOLIDAY MEALS EVERYONE!!).
The integrity of Facebook’s protection of user’s privacy and its data use policy is regularly coming under scrutiny, and the only option if the fine print details concern you is to permanently delete your account and re-enter the real world . Of course, the problem with THAT is you’ll have no way to quantify how excellent your new haircut/baby/infinity pool photo/breakfast is. Urgh. What to do?
First World Problems etc.