- Katie Patterson is the Owner/Founder at Happy Medium.
If you spend anytime at all on Facebook, you’ve spotted a friend or two posting this little gem.
When you saw it you had two choices. Copy and paste as instructed, or assume it was a hoax and keep scrolling. I won’t judge you (too much) if you chose the first option of copying, pasting and posting. It happens to the best of us at some point. About 24 hours after you started seeing the post everywhere on your Facebook, then you probably started to see shared articles proving this was only a hoax.
Then there was this really awkward time when you’d see one person posting the privacy status then the next person on your feed posted the “it’s all a hoax” article. It was probably a confusing time for you. This was not the first privacy hoax to hit Facebook, and it likely won’t be the last.
In these types of situations, it’s probably best to go straight to the source, literally. Facebook is kind enough to offer up their terms here: https://www.facebook.com/legal/terms
When it comes to your photos, here’s the truth about where Facebook stands: 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, transferable, sub-licensable, royalty-free, worldwide license to use any IP content that you post on or in connection with Facebook (IP License). This IP License ends when you delete your IP content or your account unless your content has been shared with others, and they have not deleted it.
Before you get too upset that Facebook technically owns anything you put on it, it’s important to remember that you agreed to the terms when you signed up for an account. Further, posting something on your Facebook profile does not and will likely never make it an official legal anything. That’s like thinking Google’s Facebook page can answer your questions. It’s important to remember you are choosing to put your own photos on a platform that you pay nothing for. When you sign up for a social media platform, you are agreeing to be part of the conversation and that agreement means accepting their terms. You get what you pay for, and in this case you are paying nothing so it’s a bit presumptuous to expect privacy.
If you’re not comfortable with this, the best option would be to stop putting images and personal information on Facebook. No matter where you stand though, the next time you see a Facebook “statement” running rampant through your newsfeed. Be on the “in the know” team, do some research, and don’t repost it.
Katie Patterson is the Owner/Founder of Happy Medium, a full service interactive advertising agency based in Des Moines. Follow her on Twitter - @_klpatterson