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Wednesday, June 12, 2024

Trending privacy post on Facebook doesn’t help users

If you haven’t already posted a status about keeping control of everything you’ve posted on Facebook, don’t bother.

The trending status claims users’ copyrights for the information they’ve shared on Facebook and requires written consent from the user before Facebook can use the material.

Clay Calvert, UF journalism professor and director of the Marion B. Brechner First Amendment Project, said the status won’t help users, because the issue is a matter of contract law.

“This is much more of a symbolic protest than one that has any legal effect, despite what people would like to believe or think they know,” Calvert said.

When setting up an account with Facebook, people must accept the terms of service. These terms state Facebook has the right to use the information shared on the site.

According to Facebook’s policy, the site can disclose information to advertisers to influence which ads are directed to the user. Information associated with an account may be kept after that account is deleted, also.

The Facebook Statement of Rights and Responsibilities “is our terms of service that governs our relationship with users.” A status update cannot trump the terms of service that each user agreed to when signing up for the site, Calvert said.

It’s like leasing a car, he said. When you’ve signed, you’re bound by that lease. You can’t negotiate the terms by putting a sticker on it claiming your rights after you’ve signed the contract.

“The big picture is that Facebook users did not realize that they were giving away their rights,” Calvert said.

Some students said they weren’t aware how much information Facebook could give away because they didn’t read the privacy policy.

Kayla Marcus, a 19-year-old dance freshman, said it’s scary how much information can be given out based on the policy.

“It’s just become our everyday way of communicating,” Marcus said. “We don’t realize it’s so public.”

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