Facebook Privacy

If you’re one of the 800 million people who have a Facebook profile, perhaps you have noticed some Facebook statuses that protests Facebook’s recent privacy setting changes. They may read something like this:

“In response to the new Facebook guidelines I hereby declare that my copyright is attached to all of my personal details, illustrations, graphics, comics, paintings, photos and videos, etc. (as a result of the Berne Convention). For commercial use of the above my written consent is needed at all times!”

This raises the question of whether the status has legal footing and does it actually protect the material uploaded to the site? The answer, in short, is no.

When registering for the site, every user was asked to agree to Facebook’s terms and conditions and, in order to complete the registration process, agree to it. The terms and conditions that every Facebook user agreed to gave Facebook a “non-exclusive, transferable, sub-licensable, royalty-free, worldwide license to use any IP content that you post on or in connection with Facebook”. So why is everyone so upset now?

Facebook is currently in the process of revamping its privacy settings which will allow data (like statuses and pictures) to be more easily shareable between its affiliate sites, namely Instagram.

If you are one of those who want to retain their Facebook privacy, you should be advised that you cannot retroactively negate the privacy and copyright terms previously agreed to by simply posting a status update. The answer instead lies in common-sense options, including;

  • Declining to sign up for an account with Facebook and/or Instagram.
  • Negotiating your own modified policy with Facebook.
  • Canceling your account with Facebook and/or Instagram.
  • Or simply not posting anything you don’t want shared with anyone.

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