It seems that every couple years, Facebook users mount a collective rebellion against the social network, posting an annoying, misinformed status update about privacy.
If you’re unfamiliar with the message -- which threatens legal action against a multi-billion dollar company for making user data public -- refer to the profile of your retired neighbor’s best friend’s podiatrist. They’ve probably posted it, in some scathing form or another:
While it sounds like a cause worthy of gathering pitchforks and storming Facebook Headquarters in Menlo Park, California, this warning is nothing but an empty hoax. For starters, Facebook’s terms and conditions declare that simply using the platform grants the company absolute control over “any IP content that you post on or in connection with Facebook.”
Yes, you consigned the company “non-exclusive, transferable, sub-licensable, royalty-free, worldwide license” to all the mundane selfies and trivial anecdotes you’ve ever shared on the website. The only way to nullify this clause is to delete your profile -- an easy enough endeavor, but how on Earth could you vent on social media without Facebook, your most mortal of enemies?
Additionally, the status update cites laws UCC 1-308- 1 1 308-103 and the Rome Statute as the legal precedent for taking Mark Zuckerberg to court over this petty nonsense. The Guardian notes the Rome Statute's origin in the International Criminal Court, and that the law “deals specifically with genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes. Copyright infringement and privacy concerns are a long way from their concerns."
Anyway, before you post the righteous screed to your profile, give Facebook’s terms and conditions a thoughtful read. Yes, it’s a boring, jargon-filled set of rules, but it sure as hell proves one thing: The company has the upper-hand here, so delete your account, or get in line.
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Sam Blum is a News Staff Writer for Thrillist. He's also a martial arts and music nerd who appreciates a fine sandwich and cute dogs. Find his clips in The Guardian, Rolling Stone, The A.V. Club and Vice. He's on Twitter @Blumnessmonster.