Why That Facebook Legal Notice Does Nothing

the idiot on his computer

Social media brings us uncomfortably close. People we thought we knew turn out to have bizarre obsessions or overshare so much, it’s creepy. Family members turn out to be really that racist when they’re sober, as well as when they’re drunk at Thanksgiving. And people whose intelligence you once respected turn out to be idiots.

The current dumb fad is a mutation of the dumb fad that swept Facebook at the beginning of the year, and the text is roughly this:

As of [DATE], I do not give Facebook or any entities associated with Facebook permission to use my pictures, information, or posts, both past and future. By this statement, I give notice to Facebook it is strictly forbidden to disclose, copy, distribute, or take any other action against me based on this profile and/or its contents. The content of this profile is private and confidential information. The violation of privacy can be punished by law (UCC 1-308- 1 1 308-103 and the Rome Statute). NOTE: Facebook is now a public entity. All members must post a note like this. If you prefer, you can copy and paste this version. If you do not publish a statement atleast once it will be tactically [sic] allowing the use of your photos, as well as the information contained in the profile status updates.

First of all, you can’t retroactively reject or impose a new terms of service on Facebook, nor is any Facebook post you make legally binding to Facebook. Facebook can do whatever it wants with your stuff; you agreed to that when you made an account. They’ll keep it even if you delete your account. The only way to keep Facebook’s hands off your stuff is to not post it on Facebook, period.

Secondly, the law they invoke refers to the Uniform Commercial Code. There’s a contingent of dimwits on the internet, especially conspiracy theorists, who wrongly believe it’s a magical law that gives them superpowers, which is why it turns up here. In reality, the UCC would only apply if you were selling Facebook something and had a signed sales contract with them. No, making an account is not a “sales contract.” You are giving them your stuff for free.

As for the Rome Statute, that’s a law that applies to war crimes. It also sets rules for what states can investigate what war crimes, which leads yet another contingent of clods on the internet to assume that applies to all laws, which it doesn’t.

I would like to say this stupid fad will die here, but this seems to be the new spam email forward where Bill Gates will give you $5 for sending all your friends a chain letter. Do yourself a favor; just put anybody who posts this on mute. Anybody who thinks they’re that important has nothing to say worth listening to.

(Via Tech Insider)