Better Safe Then Sorry

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Recently this tedious message has been circulating around Facebook:

Better Safe than Sorry Right:

Channel 13 News was just talking about this change in Facebook Privacy Policy. As of January 4, 2015 at 11:43 am Eastern standard time, I DO NOT give Facebook or any entities associated with Facebook permission to use my pictures, information, or posts, all past, present, 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

Whilst sounding quite scary and intimidating, it largely highlights how little some understand about the law and how many of us actually read the terms of service – a topic discussed largely in the slightly frightening, eye opening documentary, ‘Terms and Conditions May Apply’, that was even produced before the Snowden revelations

Just to clarify:

You own all of the content and information you post on Facebook, and you can control how it is shared

Facebook Terms of Service

If you don’t want Facebook to distribute our data, perhaps we shouldn’t give it to them? The internet’s not written in pencil, it’s written in ink; if you’re sharing wild political views, bad photos or other points of embarrassment that you don’t want family, future employers or the world to see, perhaps don’t share them to start off with. You should care about your privacy online, even if Zuckerburg, founder of Facebook, sees privacy as a dying right and not a ‘social norm’ any moreGlenn Greenwald expertly explains why it is so psychologically important

Though perhaps if we had all read the terms and conditions, or even handy summaries of them, can we just opt out of them with a status? No:

Facebook users cannot retroactively negate any of the privacy or copyright terms they agreed to when they signed up for their accounts, nor can they unilaterally alter or contradict any new privacy or copyright terms instituted by Facebook, simply by posting a contrary legal notice on their Facebook walls


So yes you can be safe by copying and pasting the message but then be sorry for being wrong.

Image credit to Sean MacEntee