The new Facebook copyright/privacy message changes nothing

Many Facebook users have been posting the following message on their timelines, believing it will prevent the company from using any material against them that they post to the social media site:

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 any and all commercial use of the above my written consent is required in every instance.

(Those reading this may copy and paste this text on their Facebook walls. This will place them under protection of copyright laws. By the present communiqué, I hereby notify Facebook that it is strictly forbidden to disclose, copy, distribute, disseminate, or take any other action against me on the basis of this profile and/or its contents. The aforementioned prohibited actions also apply to employees, students, agents, and/or any staff under Facebook’s direction or control. The content of this profile is private and confidential information. The violation of my privacy is punishable by law (UCC 1 1-308-308 1-103 and the Rome Statute).

Facebook is now an open capital entity. All members are recommended to publish a notice like this, or if you prefer, then you may copy and paste this version. If you do not publish a statement at least once, you will be allowing tacitly the use of elements such as your photos, as well as the information contained in your profile status updates

Legally, however, posting this message does nothing for users. Facebook reassured its users that the content they post belongs to them, not to Facebook.

The greater question is why so many Facebook users felt the need to post this message. If copyrighting our personal social media sites is alarming to us, maybe the content we are concerned about should remain private. Once it is on Facebook, it is public and we are relinquishing some of our control.

As a college student, I find it difficult to draw the line on what to post and what to keep private. I use Facebook to connect with friends and family. My Facebook friends are scattered throughout the nation and some are even actively communicating with me on the site from other countries. My family members live in several states, I have friends studying abroad and I have connections in my hometown.

What many users, like myself, don’t always consider is that our posts are not just being seen by those users. Depending on privacy settings, the posts may be seen by friends of the user’s own Facebook friends. That could include potential employers, strangers or distant relatives. The immediacy and accessibility of social media makes it that much easier to reach a wide, sometimes unknown, audience.

In essence, my response to this privacy/copyright post is not to copy and paste it on my timeline. Instead, I will use it as a reminder that I can’t predict my audience, and if I want something to remain relatively private, it may be best to not hit “post.”