Facebook can be very useful but it is also a source of misinformation.
There is outright fake news promulgated by people and organizations with an agenda. In other cases it is just incorrect information that is picked up and shared, but it can also be something that was purposely started as a hoax.
The latest hoax, appearing conveniently around the end of the year, is a dire warning that “Everything you’ve ever posted [on Facebook] becomes public from tomorrow” because “Facebook is now a public entity.” The post contains some wording that is supposedly a legal notice you should post to prevent this, citing laws “UCC 1-308- 1 1 308-103 and the Rome Statute.”
Another variation of this hoax starts out with the supposed legal notice and then adds a note that “all members must post a note like this.”
It appears very convincing, particularly in light of recent allegations of less than completely trustworthy behavior on the part of Facebook.
Although this is the first time I have seen it, this is in fact an old hoax, apparently first appearing in 2012.
There was a related hoax that tries to convince users they can (or have to) pay Facebook “to keep the subscription of your status to be set to private.” But supposedly “If you paste the [hoax] message on your page, it will be offered free…”
Facebook explicitly states “Our terms say clearly: You own all of the content and information you post on Facebook, and you can control how it’s shared through your and . That’s how it works, and this hasn’t changed.”
You can read the entire notice and find out more by going to https://www.facebook.com/fbfacts/1573108242983244.
Social media has made spreading hoaxes and misinformation really easy. Before social media, email was also very effective.
The thing is that the Internet has also made it relatively easy to check on the validity of information. Although we know that there are many sources of “fake news” and others that are heavily slanted in one direction or another, there are certainly enough reputable sources that can debunk outright hoaxes like this one.
Just pick some of the key words or phrases and do a search. In this case if you use the search on “Facebook UCC 1-308- 1 1 308-103 and the Rome Statute” you will get a ton of results including articles from major news outlets.
Speaking of search, you should be careful what search engine you use. Google is the undisputed king of search engines but I try to avoid it because Google tracks everything. I use DuckDuckGo.com because it doesn’t track you personally.
You can set your web browser to use any search engine. The problem is that this setting can also be hijacked without your explicit consent. Your start page and default search provider can be changed to some fake search engine that gives only results they want you to see. This could be to only their advertising partners or worse, to infected web pages.
I see this all the time on computers that come in for service. Please make sure you are using a reputable major search engine when you search.
Call me if you need help. 315-376-8879.
Original newspaper column published January 2019