The Great Facebook Hoax of 2012 And Why It Shouldn’t Matter

There are moments in time when I want to make like old Willie Shakespeare and shout something like “Friends, Romans and Countrymen: lend me your ears so that I might give you a double dose of common sense.”

Many people I know posted something that looked exactly like this or quite similar:

In response to the new Facebook guidelines I hereby declare that my copyright is attached to all of my personal details, illustrations, comics, paintings, professional 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!
(Anyone reading this can copy this text and paste it on their Facebook Wall. This will place

them under protection of copyright laws.) By the present communiqué, I 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 punished 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, you may copy and paste this version. If you do not publish a statement at least once, you will be tacitly allowing the use of elements such as your photos as well as the information contained in your profile status updates…

Snopes has a nice write up about this and why it is bunk, but I still want to share my own thought here.

We leave little cyber bread crumbs every time we go online. Any time we decide to post something we take a chance that it will be used by someone in some fashion other than how we intended it to be done.

Sometimes I receive emails/comments from people about posts I have written and I am shocked by what they say because it is clear they have taken my words out of context and or completely misunderstood what I wrote.

In theory I could protect myself by shutting down the blog and never posting again or by writing something that is devoid of passion and personality. While it is true that some things are better left unsaid I choose not to go to the other extreme.

No One is Forcing You To Use Facebook

Mark Zuckerberg isn’t holding a gun to your head. You don’t have to use Facebook so perhaps you’ll understand that these status updates remind me of the guy who goes to a Chinese restaurant and asks if instead of eating Dim Sum they can make him spaghetti and meatballs.

It doesn’t mean you have to accept all of Facebook’s practices or that you can’t lobby for change either. There is a middle ground to all of this, but sometimes I can’t help but wonder.

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17 Comments

  1. Jens P. Berget November 29, 2012 at 5:21 am

    I have actually not been using Facebook much lately. To me, there are so many things happening and I have friends, relatives, co-workers, and so on contacting me from all angles. It’s hard to keep up, and then there’s the privacy settings 🙂

  2. Mary Stephenson November 28, 2012 at 1:16 pm

    Hi Josh

    No privacy, no protection when you post anything. Yes and there will always be someone who will interrupt what you say or write as to something you never intended. As long as one is not a politician you can eventually fade away from public scrutiny.

    One has to learn not to be bothered by criticism or we would never write anything or if we did, we would be accused of boredom for not writing something that stirred up some thinking! Met a few online that wanted to keep everything sweet, prim and proper and if someone wasn’t exactly like they wanted they would shun them. Silly; as those individuals can make a difference and become their biggest supporters in the end.

    It reminds me of the commercial recently, okay don’t even remember for what product, but it said “I read it on the internet, so it must be true.”

    Mary

    • Josh November 29, 2012 at 1:08 am

      Hi Mary,

      Well I am not known for being shy or unwilling to stir the pot so these posts rarely are an issue for me. I figure that some people will like/hate me for anything I say and that many will be ambivalent.

      While I don’t completely ignore the potential for trouble I don’t let fear dictate everything. Common sense has to play a role and as you said, we are ordinary people so I am certain that most people just don’t care.

  3. Lori Gosselin November 28, 2012 at 10:12 am

    Hi Josh,
    Yes, that was a neat and tidy hoax. I felt bad for those (and I nearly was one) who re-posted that notice. It does shine a light on the fact our content is NOT protected!
    But as you said, don’t put anything out there that you don’t want to go viral 😉
    You said that, right, or at least that’s what you meant.
    I’ll have a 9-inch vegetarian pizza and a coke.
    Lori

    • Josh November 29, 2012 at 1:05 am

      Hi Lori,

      Remember when I ate your pie? Well I am afraid the pizza and coke ended up in the same place. 😉

      I understand why some people post these things because sometimes I read them and think maybe I should post it just in case, but then reality smacks me in the face and I remember I can’t write snarky posts and get away with playing both sides.

      • Holly Jahangiri November 29, 2012 at 5:07 am

        LOL – sure you can, Josh! (As I said to a co-worker yesterday, though: “Some days, the only thing that keeps me from calling people on their bullsh** is the certainty that they could just turn RIGHT around and call me on mine.” And other days, that’s just not enough to stop me.)

        “Berner Convention”? LOL – that should’ve been a tip-off, right there. Don’t go slinging the legalese if you don’t have a clue, eh? BERNE Convention. 😉

        I should start throwing random typos into my blog posts as a “copyright theft deterrent.” Or just to see who’s reading the thing carefully. Or snarkily.

        Thank (or blame) Hajra for leading me over here. Hi. I’m pretty definitely sure I’ll be back.

        • Josh November 30, 2012 at 11:49 am

          Yeah, I sure can and sometimes I do. It is not always easy letting some of the silly stuff go unmentioned, but is it worth it. Some people fight to the death to prove they are wrong.

  4. Brian Meeks November 28, 2012 at 7:57 am

    This is a fantastic post, especially the part about Mark not forcing anyone to use FB. I use FB, but I don’t like their TOS regarding their use of my images, so you know what, I don’t upload my images to FB. Copyright protected by me using some common sense.

    • Josh November 29, 2012 at 1:03 am

      Hi Brian,

      I would like to tell them where to toss their TOS but alas I am not a boy billionaire and unable to fight them by starting my own site called Disagracebook where we make fun of all we dislike. 😉

  5. Jayme Soulati November 28, 2012 at 5:14 am

    Hah. Well said. I saw that exact thing yesterday and in the comments below the post, someone said it was bunk according to Snopes, and the poster said, “well, it’s easy to cut and paste it anyway.” Is that obstinance or stupidity? (How do you spell that word?)

    I also love when a post I write is so obviously tongue in cheek and someone comes out with fists clenched ready to disagree. Not sure how I share gently the post was sarcastic punditry; hmm, maybe I should take up more lessons from you.

    • Josh November 29, 2012 at 1:02 am

      Hi Jayme,

      Obstinance or stupidity- that is funny. Sometimes ego doesn’t allow for us to say we were wrong. Most of the time that just makes us look more stupider.

  6. Hajra November 28, 2012 at 2:50 am

    When I saw those updates all I kept thinking is that “People will believe anything you tell them, as long as you scare them to some extent”. Like, forward this message to so many people or you will hear bad news. I don’t get it. Who starts it? Who follows suit? Why bother?

    • Jayme Soulati November 28, 2012 at 5:17 am

      Hey, Hajra…completely off topic, but I clicked your link to go comment and the article you’re linked to is not yours? It’s someone wanting a vote for $1,000 from Elegant Themes? I’m totally confused.

      • Hajra November 29, 2012 at 4:56 am

        Its my friend’s post for a blogging contest at Blog Engage. I am just helping her out by linking her post in the comment luv so that her post gets more exposure and a lot more readers. It is a year end contest at Blog Engage and the winner gets 1000 $!

      • Holly Jahangiri November 29, 2012 at 5:00 am

        Jayme, no, it’s not – it’s MY contest entry into the Blog Engage Guest Blogging Contest (the PRIZE for which is $1000!). The thing about Elegant Themes is an ad banner above the post. It’s not MY blog, so I have no control over the layout. I do wish the post titles were larger and clearer. At any rate, I would very much appreciate your reading it (please do try again!) – if you like it, all comments and shares increase my odds of winning. Thanks in advance – and please accept my apologies for any confusion! (I may have to hire Hajra as my publicist – she and Maricel have been such supportive friends in helping me to promote this.)

    • Josh November 29, 2012 at 12:54 am

      Hi Hajra,

      There is a lot of truth to the “line” about people believing whatever they see in print. I can’t tell you how many pieces of fiction I have written and the responses I have gotten even though it was clearly marked as being fiction.

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