Every year or so, I’ll see people start posting a warning to fellow users about a new Facebook rule on the use of your photos.
If you’ve browsed your Facebook feed recently, you probably saw a dire warning about a “new Facebook rule” set to take effect. The latest batch of posts seem to indicate the rule takes effect on Labor Day. (How devious! Starting such an earth-shattering rule on a holiday! Shame on them!)
But this latest round has been going around for at least two or three months, so when the post says the rule starts “tomorrow,” there’s rarely any specific date mentioned.
The warning instructs people to post a notice to their Facebook profile warning its parent company, Meta, about the use of their photos.
Though the language may vary slightly, the one I’ve seen most often goes something like this:
Don’t forget tomorrow starts the new Facebook (aka…new name, META) rule where they can use your photos. Don’t forget the Deadline is today!!! I do not give Facebook or any entities associated with Facebook permission to use my pictures, information, messages or posts, both past and future. With 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 information: The violation of privacy can be punished by law NOTE: Facebook is now a public entity. All members must post a note like this.
This “new Facebook rule” apparently allows Facebook to use photos you upload to your profile.
By posting that statement, people somehow think they’re preventing Meta from being able to take advantage of the rule.
As more people share it, those annoying fact-checking types like me like to post links to articles from sources like Snopes.com that expose this false panic as exactly that: false panic.
It doesn’t work that way. Not at all.
It all goes back to the moment you joined Facebook. For some of us, that was a long, long time ago. The company was founded back in 2004. Most of us didn’t even hear of it or have the chance to join until after 2006. But still, that’s 16 years ago!
When you joined the service, like most other membership-based sites, you have to fill out a form. On that form, you select a username, enter an email address, and whatever other information they request.
Somewhere on that form is a little checkbox. It reads something along the lines of, “I agree to Facebook’s Terms of Service.”
When you check that box and click “Submit” or “Join” or whatever the button says, it’s a done deal. (You can’t actually click that “Submit” or “Join” (or whatever) button until you’ve checked that little “I agree” box.
So you already have agreed to their terms of service. That agreement is binding.
The choice was yours when you signed up whether to agree. (If you didn’t agree, you didn’t sign up.)
All these years later, you’re still under the same agreement about how Facebook can and cannot use images you post on their platform.
If you suddenly decide that you’re no longer willing to be held to that agreement, you do have a choice: You can leave their platform.
But you don’t get to rewrite their rules by posting an edict on your profile. (Do you really think Facebook or Meta would see it anyway?)
Any valid change of the agreement would have to be agreed to by both you and them. No such change could take effect just because you say you want it to.
So please save yourself the time — and potential ridicule — associated with posting such an obviously false alert. You’re bound by Facebook’s terms of service tomorrow just as you have been since the day you joined.