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Privacy Notices Posted On Facebook Walls Are Just a Hoax

There I was, minding my own business when I saw a friend's Facebook wall with a strange notice which stated that all of the content posted on his page was his private property. Since it was just one case I didn't pay much attention to it, but it started happening more and more, so I became curious. Apparently, there is a new hype started by people who are fed up with Facebook's privacy violations, who decided to take charge of protecting their publicly available "private" photos and information.

The solution that they found seems decent and reasonable: "I declare that my rights are attached to all the personal data, drawings, paintings photos, [..] published on my profile. For commercial use of the foregoing my written consent is required at all times..." However, this text has one small problem: it doesn't work. Why? Because you already signed (accepted) a privacy agreement with Facebook, so no matter what you say / write afterwards, the first contract is the one that is legally binding unless both parties agree to the changes. To be totally honest, according to the document that you agreed to (terms of service), the social network only owns your activity on the website. Everything that you post is yours, and you can choose to share it however you please with whomever you please.

The Privacy Rights of Facebook UsersThe Privacy Rights of Facebook Users

What generated this frenzy? Facebook sent a notice which stated that it will change its terms of service and data policy, but these changes will only become active after the 1st of January. Furthermore, as far as I know, these alterations refer to the form of the document and not to their actual content. Basically, Facebook is being forced by officials to make its terms of service easier to read for the regular users. At the moment, the document is so filled with legal terms that almost no one takes the time to read it, and even if they do, it's really hard to completely understand it.

I think I've said this a few times before, but even though I like the "pro-privacy" current, I still can't grasp why those who feel that their rights are being violated don't simply quit Facebook. Or, if that's too extreme but you still worry about your sensitive pictures, how about not posting them in a public environment and just send them via e-mail to your buddies?

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