It seems that every time Facebook updates its privacy policies, Facebookers think they can stop those changes by posting the following status update.
Unfortunately that message, which has been making the rounds on Facebook over the last few days because of proposed changes Facebook suggested last week in relation to voting on privacy changes, will have zero effect on what Facebook can and can't do with your information. Snopes debunked this one earlier this year, noting that its origins go back many years. (We found examples of the phenomenon from October and June, and that's just from this year.) People really want to believe that writing something on their wall will allow them to use the social network without having to play by the rules. It doesn't quite work like that, though, as Snopes explains:
Facebook users cannot retroactively negate any of the privacy or copyright terms they agreed to when they signed up for their Facebok accounts nor can they unilaterally alter or contradict any new privacy or copyright terms instituted by Facebook simply by posting a contrary legal notice on their Facebook walls.
The law cited above, UCC 1 1-308-308 1-103, is an oft used one by "conspiracy buffs," in the words of Snopes, who believe that it gives an individual "extraordinary legal rights," which you can read about here. It doesn't actually do that.
The only way Facebook users can retain privacy is to not sign up at all, cancel their account, or get Facebook to change the policy. Or, another suggestion from a Facebook friend of mine, don't put stuff you care about on the Internet.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.