Skip to Content
October 07, 2015 3 min read

Is your Facebook news feed inundated with posts about the social media site’s privacy policy? If so, know that the following two statements were actually posted years ago but have started resurfacing.

The first post cautions that because Facebook is now a public entity, it can use your content unless you post something to the contrary:

“As of September 27th, 2015 at 10:50 p.m. Eastern Standard Time, I do not give Facebook or any entities associated with Facebook permission to use my pictures, information, or posts, both past and future. By this statement, I give notice to Facebook it is strictly forbidden to disclose, copy, distribute, or take any other action against me based on this profile and/or its contents. The content of this profile is private and confidential information. The violation of privacy can be punished by law (UCC 1-308- 1 1 308-103 and the Rome Statute). NOTE: Facebook is now a public entity. All members must post a note like this. If you prefer, you can copy and paste this version. If you do not publish a statement at least once it will be tactically allowing the use of your photos, as well as the information contained in the profile status updates.”

The second post claims that Facebook is charging a subscription fee to keep your information private:

“Now it's official! It has been published in the media. Facebook has just released the entry price: $5.99 to keep the subscription of your status to be set to "private". If you paste this message on your page, it will be offered free (paste not share) if not tomorrow, all your posts can become public. Even the messages that have been deleted or the photos not allowed. After all, it does not cost anything for a simple copy and paste.”

Both of these statements are false. Posting these messages will not provide you any additional privacy or copyright protection.

Under Facebook’s privacy policy, it has the right to distribute and share user content and posts, subject to the user’s privacy and application settings. The reality is that if Facebook couldn’t maintain the privacy of its users, it would quickly decline as a leading social media site.

If you’re worried about your privacy on Facebook, check the public view of your profile by selecting “View as” in the menu in the lower right-hand corner of your cover photo. If you want to see what a specific person would see, enter their name at the top next to “This is what your timeline looks like to….” From this page, you can also ensure public posts will only be viewed by friends or a custom audience.

To change who can view future posts, go to the privacy tab under settings and select one of the following access options:

  • Public
  • Friends
  • Only Me

By selecting “more options,” you’ll reveal these additional options:

  • Friends except Acquaintances
  • Close Friends
  • Family
  • The Company you work for
  • The City you live in
  • A custom option that allows you to select people or list who should be given or denied access to your information

So, who should you share your posts and information with? Most of us normally select “Friends”; however, I think “Friends except Acquaintances” is a better, more secure option. This option means all of your friends, except those you’ve labeled as an acquaintance, can see the content you share. To label someone as an “Acquaintance,” visit their profile page and change their “Friend” status to “Acquaintance.”

While these recent Facebook privacy posts are nothing more than a hoax, it’s important to understand and update your Facebook privacy settings. Facebook allows us to share specific details with the world: our places of work, schools, cities of residence, events we’re attending, vacation plans, the list goes on. I urge you to think about who you want to share this information with and to protect your privacy accordingly.

This content originally appeared at crainsdetroit.com and crainscleveland.com and is part of a special blog series on cybersecurity.