Remember that hoax message that went viral on Facebook recently? The message explained that as Facebook is now a publicly owned company, anything you share on the website as a user is public property and therefore open to commercial use. Facebook has now posted a reply to that in the Fact Check section of its Newsroom. In a post titled – Copyright Meme Spreading on Facebook, the social networking giant explain that the news going viral is false. Facebook informs that, “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.”

At the time of reporting the earlier instance, Facebook had scores of users updating their profile status with the hoax message. 


Clearing the air on the hoax message

Here’s the hoax message:

“In response to the new Facebook guidelines I hereby declare that my copyright is attached to all of my personal details, illustrations, comics, paintings, professional photos and videos, etc. (as a result of the Berner Convention). For commercial use of the above my written consent is needed at all times!

(Anyone reading this can copy this text and paste it on their Facebook Wall. This will place them under protection of copyright laws. By the present communiqué, I notify Facebook that it is strictly forbidden to disclose, copy, distribute, disseminate, or take any other action against me on the basis of this profile and/or its contents. The aforementioned prohibited actions also apply to employees, students, agents and/or any staff under Facebook's direction or control. The content of this profile is private and confidential information. The violation of my privacy is punished by law (UCC 1 1-308-308 1-103 and the Rome Statute).

Facebook is now an open capital entity. All members are recommended to publish a notice like this, or if you prefer, you may copy and paste this version. If you do not publish a statement at least once, you will be tacitly allowing the use of elements such as your photos as well as the information contained in your profile status updates.”

At the time, Internet myth-busting site made it clear that posting this status message does not change the copyright and privacy agreements that the users already entered in with Facebook earlier.

In order to sign up on the social networking website, you must confirm that you accept Facebook’s legal terms, including its privacy policy and terms and policies – something most people skim over due to the large amount of text to be read.

“You cannot alter your acceptance to that agreement, nor can you restrict the rights of entities who are not parties to that agreement, simply by posting a notice to your Facebook account or citing the Uniform Commercial Code (UCC) or the Berne Convention,” says the website. You could either refuse to join Facebook, cancel your account or bilaterally negotiate a modified policy with Facebook in case you do not agree to the terms and conditions. 

Facebook users own the intellectual property rights to all content they upload to the social network, but depending on their privacy settings, users grant the social network “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).”

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