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Facebook Privacy Notices Are a Hoax: Here's Why

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By Christopher Coble, Esq. on September 30, 2015 10:15 AM

The Facebook privacy notice is a hoax. Just like it was in 2012, just like it was in 2014, copying and pasting a nonsensical disclaimer into your status is absolutely meaningless. So please, for the sake of all your "friends," please stop doing this.

Unfortunately, Facebook users can't dictate privacy controls to the company, but that doesn't mean there aren't ways to control what personal information Facebook has access to.

Better Safe Than Sorry Is Wrong, In This Case

Here's the thing: Facebook already set its privacy and permissions parameters when you agreed to their terms and conditions. These terms and conditions aren't governed by the Uniform Commercial Code or the Rome Statute or by any legalese you put into a status update. They're simply the trade off you make by agreeing to use Facebook's social media service for free. So it's really between you and Facebook.

And what you've granted in those terms and conditions is "non-exclusive, transferable, sub-licensable, royalty-free, worldwide license to use any IP content that you post on or in connection with Facebook." Sorry, you can't unilaterally alter that contract, especially through a status update that references an International Criminal Court statute covering jurisdiction for genocide, war crimes, and the crime of aggression. (Although my aunt's repeated invites to play Candy Crush Saga should be considered a crime against humanity.)

Give Notice to Facebook

Look, we all have privacy concerns on the Internet, and how much personal information we trade for convenience and connection is a constant balancing act.

In some sense you do control how much information Facebook has access to -- not through posting a legally inane status update, but by controlling what you put on Facebook in the first place. So making reasoned decisions about what you share, and having discussions with your children about what they share, is far more important than the annual copy and paste hoax.

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