Just like hoaxes that used to circulate by email, Facebook hoaxes have a tendency to reappear and spread again, even after they’ve been confirmed as false. The latest is a status message that claims the social media giant will modify its privacy policies. It urges users that in order for them not to be affected by these changes, they have to make a post to their Timeline saying they don’t give Facebook the right to use the content they have posted.
The hoax refers to law “UCC 1-308-1 1-308-103,” which has frequently been promoted by conspiracy believers as a way to give individuals extraordinary rights if it is included above a signature on a document. This is actually incorrect and no such practice is recognized by law. The Rome Statute cited by the hoax message has nothing to do with privacy rights. It’s a treaty establishing the International Criminal Court, which has been set up to deal with cases involving war crimes, genocide and crimes against humanity, a purpose anyone will recognize as far more important than settling disputes over Facebook post ownership.
In a post made back in 2012, Facebook debunked any rumors related to a change of ownership in posted content. Members will keep ownership and control of the content they post, just like they always did. The social network can use the content posted by members under some circumstances. Application and privacy settings determine whether the company can use content owned by its members as it sees fit. Generally, if a photo, video or status update is set to be publicly visible, the company can make use of it around the world without paying any royalties to the owner.
Such policies are common among online services that rely primarily on user-submitted content. They may use public content as part of advertising materials to promote their service to users or attract advertisers or as illustrations and examples in internal company materials like presentations and training manuals. Member content also plays an important role in helping companies develop, test and improve various features. For example, they may use public messages in various languages to see how well the automatic translation feature is able to handle them. As social media messages tend to use informal language and slang that automatic translation tools tend to struggle with, they can help improve the accuracy and performance of the feature more than random sentences from books and news articles.
A few other scams have been going around on Facebook lately. One falsely offers a nonexistent “empathy” button and tries to get users to visit a site with malware, while the other one makes the false claim that Facebook will start charging users to keep statuses private.