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Posting Your Own Facebook Privacy Statement Is Meaningless

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You may have seen some of your friends posting their own privacy statement as their status on Facebook. Don’t waste your time — it’s completely meaningless.

Something worded like this is making its way around Facebook:

WARNING: Any person and/or institution and/or Agent and/or Agency of any governmental, public or private 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, or any of the content contained herein, including, but not limited…

This status statement is being cut-and-pasted all over the place for two reasons.  First, Facebook is now a publicly traded company, which means you can buy shares of the company on the stock exchange — the same way you can buy shares of Coca-Cola, Target, General Motors, and Delta Airlines, which are all public companies. Facebook “being public” has nothing to do with your status updates being available to the public. All of that stuff is determined by your own privacy settings. Secondly, when you signed-up for Facebook, you agreed to their terms and conditions. Posting the “warning” mentioned above as your status carries absolutely zero legal weight. This is just one of seven zillion rumors and falsehoods that have spread across Facebook. If you are concerned about the federal government looking at pictures of your puppy, don’t post them on an on-line community of 900,000,000 people.

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