Social media hoax stories resurface their spammy head every few months. What makes these stories go viral is that they play on people’s fears about their individual security. In this specific case, the security of their personal information. Another factor is that the story urges others who read it to copy and paste it on their own websites.
Here’s the latest example of such a hoax, spreading across Facebook news feeds everywhere today. It claims that Facebook will start charging a fee in order to maintain your selected privacy settings, unless the post is re-shared. Here’s the message in full:
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 (I said 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
Here is how Facebook responded to the hoax:
Now that we know what the hoax is and how it is going viral let’s take a look at the facts.
3. If you have an account on Facebook, you have agreed to terms which state that:
“For content that is covered by intellectual property (IP) 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.”
In short, you already agree that Facebook owns your IP content. That right ends if and when you delete your account or the content unless someone else already shared it with others.
4. If your privacy setting is set to “Public”, anyone can access it, even those who do not have an account on Facebook. You can change it to “Friends” or choose from other options as shown below.
5. If after knowing all this information, you do not agree with Facebook, here is what you can do next:
i. Delete your account on Facebook and never sign up again.
ii. Negotiate a personalized privacy agreement with Facebook.
iii. Request Facebook to kindly change their policies.
So coming back to the hoax, can copy and pasting a status help you with anything? Of course not. It is not going to change Facebook’s privacy policies or terms and conditions, nor is it going to change your implicit agreement to those policies.
What it does do however is spread spam and encourage others to be fear mongers and annoy the rest who do not wish to participate.
Now that you know a few things that you may not have before, how about sharing it with others?