Recently, another viral post made the rounds on Facebook concerning Privacy Change issues for its users. Supposedly, if one fails to copy and paste a certain legal statement, then the social media giant will be forced to turn all of your posts into public — to be seen openly by anyone, even if you do not want to share it with them.
The “legal statement” comes in different varieties, but the gist is that one declares that they do not allow” Facebook to use their personal posts, pictures, or messages in any way perceivable. Well, we do not really need to check sites like snopes.com to see that the premise already sounds ridiculous, but for the sake of credibility, let us take a look at what they have to say about the issue.
First, signing up for Facebook already comes with Terms that you probably skipped reading when you first registered. Those Terms, of course, cannot be invalidated by simply copying and pasting a “legal note” that probably came from some phony source, no matter how credible-sounding its statements may be.
However, the Terms do not include making your private posts Public, and they never announced such Privacy Change policy in the near future, anyway. Moreover, being a “public entity” simply means that Facebook stocks are being traded on the open market. This has nothing to do with copyright or privacy issues of your individual posts.
So on that front, you are pretty much covered. However, if you still doubt the privacy of your content, check the little privacy icon that resides in each of your posts (it is located near the time stamp on most devices). There are four major settings to this: Public, Friends, Friends of Friends, and Only Me.
Public means that anyone can see that post, even the ones who are not your friends or are outside “your network.” The next two are self-explanatory – posts set as visible to only “Friends” will show up in friends’ feeds, while posts set to “Friends of Friends” extends that visibility to include the “friends of your friends” (regardless non-connections with said “friend”). “Only Me” implies exactly what it says: those are posts that can be viewed by you, and you alone.
There are many more intricacies like Friend Groups and Tagging rules, and one of the best ways to understand this is by using Facebook’s Privacy Checkup. It is like a program that guides you step-by-step so that you can easily manage the privacy setting of your current and future posts.
The Privacy Change scare described above would be a major issue, if ever it happens. So we are pretty sure that we will hear from official outlets if this is ever to happen in the future. To those who want to aspire to be internet-savvy, we have but one advice: research, read, and do not fall too easily for hoaxes!