This weekend, you may have noticed a Facebook “privacy notice” going viral across the popular social networking site after a recent change to their privacy policy. The notice claims that by duplicating the message to your wall, it’s possible to effectively protect against the violation of copyright and privacy rights. It goes something like this:

“In response to the new Facebook guidelines I hereby declare that my copyright is attached to all of my personal details, illustrations, graphics, comics, paintings, 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!”

Though there are other versions, this is the one we most frequently saw on our walls, and it goes on to say Facebook is an “open capital entity” and urges anyone who reads the notice to copy and paste it onto their own walls to protect their safety.

Though “open capital entity” is a term which was seemingly unheard of before the hoax surfaced, the notice puts emphasis on the phrase as if it has a weighty effect on our privacy. Frankly, Facebook has never been private as is. A private social network doesn’t exist, the words “private” and “social” just don’t go together in the same sentence. Facebook has users agree to a privacy policy for a reason, and have the ability to control which information is public, and which isn’t.

Other variations of this notice state “Facebook is now a publicly traded entity” and “unless you state otherwise, anyone can infringe on your right to privacy once you post on this site.” A publicly traded entity can be defined as a company which issues stocks to be traded on the open market. The fact that the notice uses said terminology already brings the authenticity of the notice into doubt.

What Facebook Says

In response to the hoax, Facebook issued a statement letting users know the claims in the notice are, in fact, a rumor and anyone who uses Facebook owns and controls the content they post, and how the content is shared. Essentially, the social networking site has “privacy settings” allowing users to control just how private and public every post is. If you mark a post as “public,” it’s no longer private.

What You Can Do

You might be wondering how the hoax affects you as marketer and content creator. Well, firstly, it’s important to make sure you don’t paste the notice on your Facebook wall. Jason Hartman realizes the significance of reputation, and this notice could hurt yours. Even if you don’t use your Facebook profile for professional reasons, anyone can see posts marked “public,” and there’s no point in cluttering other users walls with more nonsense.

If you’d like to take real action to take control of your privacy on Facebook, the networking site will be taking votes on the issue. They’re asking users to vote by noon, eastern time, on Friday, June 8th. (Top Image: Flickr | StoneySteiner)

The Speaking of Wealth Team