If you’ve been scrolling through your Facebook feed, taking in the holiday photos and engagement announcements and New Year’s resolutions, you may have noticed that many users have been posting a legal-sounding privacy notice to their wall.
The notes are some variation of this:
The messages started popping up originally in 2012, and have started anew in response to the Facebook announcement that they’re going have a new policy going into effect January 30. (Here’s a breakdown of that new policy—it mostly has to do with ads.)
Problem is that this copyright notice is a hoax, and even if it wasn’t, it probably wouldn’t make a difference. As CNET explains, “people can’t just change the privacy terms they signed when they joined Facebook, or pick and choose what new terms they’ll abide by.”
Further, it’s a solution to a problem that doesn’t exist. Facebook isn’t claiming copyright to the information that their users post to the social network. The notice doesn’t do anything more than clutter up everyone’s feed.
What triggered the notices and helped them spread so virally is understandable. It’s anxiety about having what we put on the Internet used in ways we didn’t intend. But alas, the only way to make sure that your social media posts are secure is to watch what you put online.