Privacy Notice On Facebook Timelines: How Effective Is It?


It was the last week of November, when Facebook users started receiving automatic notification from the social media giant regarding privacy policy updates. Since then a lot of people have been posting a new privacy notice to their Facebook walls, hoping it would protect their photos and posts from being misused.

The posts read as “Today, December XX, 2014 in response to the Facebook guidelines and under articles L.111, 112 and 113 of the code of intellectual property, I declare that my rights are attached to all my personal data, drawings, paintings, photos, texts etc… published on my profile. For commercial use of the foregoing my written consent is required at all times. Those reading this text can copy it and paste it on their Facebook wall. It will allow them to place themselves under the protection of copyright. By this release, I tell Facebook that it is strictly forbidden to disclose, copy, distribute, broadcast, or to take any other action against me on the basis of this profile and/or its contents. The actions mentioned above apply equally to employees, students, agents and/or other staff under the direction of Facebook. The contents of my profile include private information. The violation of my privacy is punished by the law (UCC 1 1-308 – 308 1 – 103 and the Rome Statute).”

According to Seth Rosenblatt and Ian Sherr, these posts may have been drive by a plethora of emails and notifications about security updates sent by Facebook to its users. A revised version of the security updates will be put in effect from January 1, 2015.

When Joe Bush, Captain and a Public Affairs Representative in the US Army was asked about his response towards these notifications and emails from Facebook, he said, “It’s better to be safe than sorry.”

Even though people are finding it fun and very easy to post new security notice on their timelines in a ray of hope that it would snuggle them up from any attempt by hackers, but studies rebuff it. How can someone change the “terms and conditions” that he or she accepted at the time of creating his Facebook account? Technically it’s not conceivable for one to change the privacy terms by posting (copy-pasting) a dummy notice on his timeline. According to the Pew Internet study, people are becoming jittery about their privacy on social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.

Theodore Claypoole, co-author of Privacy in the Age of Big Data and a privacy attorney in Charlotte, N.C. puts forth, “People feel out on limb against a social media platform like Facebook, where they cannot be 100 percent sure of their privacy, so it’s good if they define the owner of the content they are posting.” Even though Facebook has clearly mentioned on its “terms and conditions” page that apart from users’ activities, it doesn’t control or own anything else. It all depends on users as to how they want to update privacy settings on their posts and photos. The announcement makes one thing pretty clear: Posting a new security notice on your timeline just like your friends are doing on theirs’ won’t help you augment privacy, but using the “Facebook Privacy Setting Tab” efficaciously will surely do.

Bhupendra Sharma

Image Source: []