Facebook sets record straight over hoax copyright warning

Thousands of users posted the warning. Picture (posed by models): Julie Bull
Thousands of users posted the warning. Picture (posed by models): Julie Bull
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SOCIAL networking site Facebook has insisted that users still maintain full copyright of content they upload in the wake of a hoax warning which went viral on the site.

Tens of thousands of people posted a statement on their profiles which asserted full copyright over the things they uploaded to the site.

The hoax message read: “Facebook is now an open capital entity. All members are recommended to publish a notice like this, or if you prefer, you may copy and paste this version.

“If you do not publish a statement at least once, you will be tacitly allowing the use of elements such as your photos, as well as the information contained in your profile status updates.”

Users then copy-and-paste a statement stating: ‘In response to the new Facebook guidelines, I hereby declare that my copyright is attached to all of my personal details, illustrations, comics, paintings, professional photos and videos, etc. (as a result of the Berner Convention). For commercial use of the above my written consent is needed at all times!’

However, a spokesman for the site, which was devised by Harvard student Mark Zuckerberg in 2004, has reassured users that they remain the owner of what they post.

Andrew Noyes said: ‘We have noticed some statements that suggest otherwise and we wanted to take a moment to remind you of the facts - when you post things like photos to Facebook, we do not own them.

‘Under our terms, you grant Facebook permission to use, distribute, and share the things you post, subject to the terms and applicable privacy settings.

Facebook’s help section explains that users retain the copyright to their content, but by uploading it, grant Facebook a licence to use and display the content.

It is not the first time Facebook has been at the centre of either a hoax or privacy issues. In the past, site users have expressed concerns about the possibility of private messages being viewable by anyone who visits their profile whilst other viral hoax campaigns have included a message suggesting that Facebook will start charging people to use the service.

• Facebook is known for storing large amounts of user data - it can log your location, IP address, and it knows where and when your photos were taken and when you look at another user’s timeline; the idea being that this information can then be released as a result of a court order in the United Kingdom, or as a subpoena in the United States.

Facebook states that it holds onto the information ‘for as long as it is necessary to provide products and services to you and others.’ It is therefore likely that Facebook will hold onto your data until your account is deleted.