You’ve probably seen the warning more than once in your Facebook feed: a stern message designed to scare off the government so it won’t browse your profile for “incriminating” information.
Apparently, a series of emails are making the rounds with the silly claim that because Facebook is now a publicly-traded company, all of your profile information must now be public, too. Why anyone would think that the two have anything to do with each other boggles the mind, except for the unfortunate fact that anytime anyone uses the words Facebook and privacy in the same sentence, people drop what they’re doing and are ready to believe the worst.
If you haven’t seen the warning, you probably will, but in the meantime, here’s what it says:
“*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 photo`s 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(s), agent(s), student(s) 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.”
You have to admit that it looks official with that citation of the Universal Commercial Code (UCC) at the end of the message. If it’s got a real-life law there, then it must be true, right?
The Universal Commercial Code has nothing — nada, zip — to do with privacy or social networking. They would’ve accomplished just as much if they listed the section of law that pertains to jaywalking in their local municipality.
Then there’s the more important fact that if you’re a Facebook user, you’ve already agreed to privacy rules that you don’t have the authority to change in the middle of the game.
But don’t waste your time trying to post a useless warning intended to someone who can’t even see your profile if your privacy settings are set the way they should be.
And I offer one last piece of common sense on this issue: no one can use something incriminating on your profile against you if you don’t post it to begin with.
It makes me wonder what these people have on their timeline that suddenly has them in such a panic. Maybe it’s time to plunder for something juicy that they don’t want us to know about!