Facebook confirms that newsfeed copyright notice is a hoax

Posted on December 10, 2012


Social networking site Facebook has confirmed that a newsfeed message posted by thousands of users is a hoax.

The message, which concerns privacy and copyright issues, asserts the rights of the user to retain copyright on any personal information, photographs, comments or other content posted on the site. Users sharing the message have generally urged their friends to do likewise, in the belief that making the statement is the only way to protect copyright.

However, items posted on Facebook are owned by the people who post them, and the site does not assume copyright. Facebook does have the right to show and to use information posted on the site, in line with its privacy settings which can be controlled by each user.

The hoax warning about copyright has been so compelling, however, that many thousands of people have copied it. Most Facebook users will have spotted the notice on at least one friend’s wall in the last few weeks.

Social networking sites mean that stories can spread like wildfire before anyone checks the facts. While it is embarrassing for individual users to find out that they have helped distribute a hoax message, the situation can be a lot more serious and damaging for those running businesses online.

Many companies provide news content on their websites and on sites such as Facebook and Twitter, helping to establish their reputations. Situations like this latest Facebook hoax serve as reminders that any content should be checked for accuracy before sharing.

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