Your Privacy Rights on Facebook Are NOT Safeguarded By Viral Status UpdatesPosted by William on Jun 9, 2012 in Art, Copyright, Entertainment, Film, Intellectual Property, Music, News, Sports, Television, Trademark | 0 comments
If you have been on Facebook in the past few days, you have seen the most recent privacy chain letter that seems to have gone viral everywhere on Facebook. The privacy chain letter requests Facebook users to post a disclaimer which basically says that the Facebook user forbids organizations and other people from using his or her information on Facebook.
The privacy chain letter makes clear that if Facebook users fail to post the chain letter and the disclaimer it contains, the Facebook user will lose his or her rights to his or her own data on Facebook. What is particularly interesting is the fact that the chain letter seems to imply that the disclaimer is somehow necessary due to the fact that Facebook has recently become a public company.
For many, Facebook is seen as a necessary evil since it is a free service that allows individuals to connect on a large scale with “friends” but at a price- the user’s loss of privacy. If you have been a Facebook user for at least the past five years, you know that Facebook has changed drastically. In a matter of sometimes a few days, one’s Facebook notifications, privacy settings, public information and even the way one’s actual Facebook page looks can be totally different. There are times when Facebook changes without users even knowing. Facebook’s constant evolution has caused many users to remain hyper-vigilant about their privacy rights, sometimes buying into hype that has no actual bearing on one’s online privacy rights as a Facebook user. The recent viral privacy chain on Facebook is just one example of hyper-vigilant Facebook users looking to protect their privacy rights. It is also another example of people misunderstanding the way in which online privacy works.
Second, because Facebook is a free service that you and your Facebook friends are using voluntarily, everything you and your friends post on Facebook will be treated as public unless you take affirmative actions through privacy settings to change that. The “default” setting on Facebook is always that your information is open to the public.
Third, whether or not Facebook is a publicly traded company is irrelevant. Facebook users’ rights to their data has not changed.
Whether you received it in a message, on your wall, or saw it in your newsfeed as a friend’s status update, this viral privacy chain letter is better off ignored. The bottom line is that the disclaimer contained in the chain letter does not do what it purports to do. It is simply not possible.