By: Elizabeth Libro
Facebook is one of the largest social networking services in the world. Nowadays everyone seems to have a Facebook profile. For the past several years a Facebook scam regarding users privacy rights to their profile information has been sweeping the Internet, this year is no exception. The newly trending version of this Internet ploy states that the specific user does not give Facebook permission to use their pictures, information, or posts, both past and future. The user copies and posts the “privacy protection statement” in the form of a Facebook status. Therefore, Facebook would not be allowed to access their personal information after Facebook users post this type of status; they would be wrong.
The issue surrounding Facebook users right to privacy regarding their personal information is one of simple contract term agreements. Most people do not read the terms when creating their Facebook. Very few users even know that these terms are readily available for them to read at any time. When you create a Facebook, however, you do agree to set terms laid out by Facebook Inc. in order for you to have a profile.
When two people enter into a contract they agree that they will follow the terms of the contract as they are laid out and there will be no deviation from those terms. Agreeing to the terms Facebook Inc. has presented to a user to create a Facebook and then posting a Facebook status saying you do not give Facebook permission to use your information is a deviation from the terms. What users do not understand is that by logging into Facebook everyday and still using it to access your Facebook profile, you are continuing to agree to their terms and conditions as they are laid out regardless of anything you post about privacy protection.
The terms Facebook Inc. has set forth are fair and simple. You are allowed to use your Facebook in any manner you choose with any privacy settings you want against other Facebook members and the rest of the Internet. By continually using Facebook you agree to these terms. The fine print is clearly laid out for everyone to read and it states that your information is secure, to a point. Agreeing to these terms means that users understand their information is not completely and utterly private from the world, even if the user does not actually understand this. There definitely is an easier way, however, for people who are concerned about their privacy to make sure their information is safe and private other than by falling for the yearly Facebook scam; by not posting information they would not want anyone to see, ironically, where everyone could see it.
Bio: Elizabeth is a Staff Member of the Journal of High Technology Law. She is a current 2L at Suffolk Law. She holds a B.S. in Criminal Justice from the University of Massachusetts, Lowell.