Wednesday, 17 October 2012

Facebook ‘Privacy Notices’ Won’t Help You

So there’s been a big stir of late over the fact that Facebook is now a publicly-traded business, with a lot of people now concerned about their privacy and the potential for violations of it. A little paranoid? Perhaps, but this is the internet; it’s important to be aware of the information that you’re putting out and the chance for it to come back to haunt you.

Such concerns seem to be the main cause of the ‘Facebook Privacy Notice’ chain update that’s doing the rounds on the popular social media website. This thing (you can view a copy of one of it’s many variations here at has been around since June of this year, but as it’s now seemingly made the jump across the pond and is still spreading I thought I’d devote a quick post about it.

So let’s start with the bad news.

Sorry guys, but this Privacy Notice won’t help to protect your privacy online at all.

Your rights, responsibilities and access to things like privacy all stem from Facebook’s ‘Terms of Service’ (or ToS), which you agree to when you first sign up for the site. These are what govern who has access to your page and for what purpose; simply posting an update citing a couple ofpieces of US legislation (which are unrelated to social media and privacy and therefore irrelevant) cannot change that.

So long as you are using Facebook, it’s assumed that you are in acceptance of the ToS. If you’re not, you’re only option is to not use the site. That’s just how it works, sadly.

Concerns about your privacy online are valid, don’t get me wrong. Employers are known to read into your online life and the things you’ve posted, so it’s not a bad thing to be concerned about who can see what about you on the internet. But posting disclaimers such as this won’t help you.

You have concerns regarding who can see your content on Facebook?

Then be sure to monitor that content.