Facebook status privacy scam

6:57 PM, Jun 6, 2012   |    comments
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PORTLAND, Maine (NEWS CENTER) - Scams often go viral pretty quickly on social media, but what do you do when the scam is about the social media service you're using? This week one scam has caught the eye of our NEWS CENTER social media coordinator, Brett Whitmarsh.

The scam you've noticed has to do with privacy on Facebook right?

Yes, Facebook made a point to tell users this week that there is a status update that has gone viral. The status update that's being shared is  filled with legal wording. It reads:

"PRIVACY NOTICE: Warning - any person and/or institution and/or Agent and/or Agency of any governmental structure including but not limited to the United States Federal Government also using or monitoring/using this website or any of its associated websites, you do NOT have my permission to utilize any of my profile information nor any of the content contained herein including, but not limited to my photos, and/or the comments made about my photos or any other "picture" art posted on my profile.

You are hereby notified that you are strictly prohibited from disclosing, copying, distributing, disseminating, or taking any other action against me with regard to this profile and the contents herein. The foregoing prohibitions also apply to your employee , agent , student or any personnel under your direction or control.

The contents of this profile are private and legally privileged and confidential information, and the violation of my personal privacy is punishable by law. UCC 1-103 1-308 ALL RIGHTS RESERVED WITHOUT PREJUDICE"

To paraphrase, it says that you the user declare that anyone watching your Facebook page does not have permission to use any of your profile information, pictures, data or comments. It goes on to say that this information is private and confidential. While this a good thing to tell people, it doesn't mean anything to post it as your Facebook status. It does not protect your privacy, or anything else.

Where did this come from?

It grew out of fears over Facebook going public. Many thought that now with Facebook being public, then all of the data on Facebook is also public. Facebook says this is not the case. They said that they don't own your data or your content.

So what should people do if they are confused or worried about their data?

You should always read over the "terms of Use" or Terms of Service" Now a lot of folks notice this information and simply skim it. Admittedly, it can be confusing to read, but Facebook recently got some heat from the federal government about not updating their users when their policies change. They were also told to make this information clearer. So over the last 9 months Facebook has re-worked their language. It is very clear and easy to read. I strongly suggest that everyone, especially parents, review the terms of use on Facebook. You can do so HERE.

They lay out how they use your data and your rights as a user. It also dives into the privacy.

And there is even a Facebook owned page for this too?

Yes it's simply called Facebook and Privacy. Every time there is relevant information it is posted there. I suggest everyone like their page. You even have the option to request your data and download it as a file.

You say that this means more than just Facebook too.

Yes, users shouldn't think this is only restricted to Facebook. This idea applies to every social media service you use. When you make something public, it's public. Google, YouTube, LinkedIn, Twitter to name a few. In fact Twitter just updated their privacy policy and terms of use -- also trying to make it easier to understand. You read these terms of services pretty regularly and there is one line you really wanted to highlight in Facebook's service:

Yes, it reads:
"When you publish content or information using the Public setting, it means that you are allowing everyone, including people off of Facebook, to access and use that information, and to associate it with you (i.e., your name and profile picture)."

And before we let you go, you had one more thing to warn us about regarding LinkedIn?

Yes,LinkedIn announced today that they are investigating a report that six million passwords were either stolen or leaked online. The company is advising it's users to change their passwords right away.


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