Regular Facebook users may have spotted their friends posting a ‘privacy notice’ to their timeline in the last couple of weeks, which takes the form:
“PRIVACY NOTICE: Warning – any person and/or institution and/or Agent and/or Agency of any governmental structure including but not limited to the United States Federal Government also using or monitoring/using this website or any of its associated websites, you do NOT have my permission to utilize any of my profile information nor any of the content contained herein including, but not limited to my photos, and/or the comments made about my photos or any other “picture” art posted on my profile.
You are hereby notified that you are strictly prohibited from disclosing, copying, distributing, disseminating, or taking any other action against me with regard to this profile and the contents herein. The foregoing prohibitions also apply to your employee , agent , student or any personnel under your direction or control.
The contents of this profile are private and legally privileged and confidential information, and the violation of my personal privacy is punishable by law. UCC 1-103 1-308 ALL RIGHTS RESERVED WITHOUT PREJUDICE
It is recommended that other members post a similar notice to this or you may copy and paste this one. Thank you. This is now a publicly traded site, Protect Yourself!”
The idea, presumably, is that such a notice (complete with dodgy punctuation) prevents anyone from using information contained on the poster’s Facebook profile for something other than its original intent — social networking, in other words.
Unsurprisingly, such a notice isn’t worth the paper it’s written on.
Anyone who signs up for a Facebook account has already agreed to Facebook’s terms and conditions and its users can’t override its content simply by posting something to their profile page. In other words, it’s a meaningless message.
A better way to restrict access to personal information on Facebook is to make use of its account security settings, as detailed at the Facecrooks site. It’s also important to review these settings every few months, since Facebook has a habit of changing them.
The best way to prevent personal information on Facebook from being abused, of course, is to not post it the first place.