NEW YORK — Don't fall for it: A years-old Facebook hoax is making the rounds again, giving users false hope that a simple status update will lock down their accounts and protect the photos and videos they share.
The status reads:
“As of (Date/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 that it is strictly forbidden to disclose, copy, distribute, or take any other action against me based on this profile is private and confidential information. The violation of privacy can be punished by law (UCC 1-308-11 308-103 and 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 If you do not publish this statement at least once it will be tactically allowing the use of your photos, as well as information contained in the profile status updates. DO NOT SHARE. You MUST copy and paste to make this your status. I will leave a comment so it will be easier to copy and paste!!!”
But there's a huge flaw in the post: it doesn't actually do anything.
According to Facebook's terms and conditions, your photos and videos are fair game -- sometimes.
"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," the site's terms read.
That means Facebook does not own users' content, but the site does have permission to use any photos, videos or statuses that are posted publicly.
However, there's hope for social savvy users who don't want to broadcast their lives beyond their close friends and family and don't want the site to have access to their content.
If you don't want your photos or videos shared by other entities, you can tighten the security settings on your account, making some or all of your posts private.
The hoax dates as far back as November 2012, when Facebook noticed that status becoming so widespread, the social networking site released a statement seeking to clarify.
"There is a rumor circulating that Facebook is making a change related to ownership of users' information or the content they post to the site. This is false. Anyone who uses Facebook owns and controls the content and information they post, as stated in our terms. They control how that content and information is shared. That is our policy, and it always has been," the company said at the time.