North Texas Daily

Facebook freakout is waste of a good panic

Facebook freakout is waste of a good panic

November 26
23:51 2012

If you’ve taken the time to keep up with your friends on Facebook over the Thanksgiving weekend, you might have noticed a few of them rushing to paste a strange piece of legalese into their statuses – and upon reading it, you possibly copied and reposted it yourself. It sounds something like this:

“In response to the new Facebook guidelines, I hereby declare that my copyright is attached to all of my personal details, illustrations, comics, paintings, crafts, professional photos and videos, etc. as a result of the Berner Convention. For commercial use of the above my written consent is needed at all times!”

Did reposting this status or something else like it make you feel better about your freedom of expression? Perhaps you felt the resonance of a blow struck for individual liberty and the freedom of information over corporate tyranny and profit.

We don’t want to burst your bubble, but you’ve been had – and at least a few of your Facebook friends are probably laughing at you.

You see, there aren’t any new Facebook guidelines, you’re already entitled to protection under copyright law for the personal information you share on the site and passing on some sanctimonious, unfounded chain letter changes absolutely nothing for you or the safety of your incredible ideas.

Look, we’re sure the homemade internet meme comics, bad poetry and agonizingly cornball jokes you’ve flung across the gaping vacuum of the web all occupy a special place in your heart, and the idea of anyone exploiting your personal creations for ill-gotten gains might frighten you.

But take a break from panicking for just a moment and ask yourself, have you ever posted anything on Facebook clever enough to steal or perhaps even good enough for a company to profit from?

Unless you’re a professional artist, photographer, writer or comedian, the answer is probably no.

And if you are, seeing your hard work used in a television commercial or copied onto a T-shirt without your express permission doesn’t mean you failed to repost some Facebook status—it means you’re about to hire a lawyer and make some real money.

It seems like Facebook junkies are always wringing their hands over a new privacy scare every few months, but the honest truth is that social networking sites are far more likely to sell your phone number, address or other personal information to outside companies than any of your childhood drawings or a particularly well-shot Instagram photo.

If you have a problem with that, the solution is a little more drastic than posting a ridiculous chain letter and calling it a day—you have to delete your Facebook page and make friends in the real world instead.

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