Facebook Hoax

Why You Must Not Fall for the Facebook Hoax

facebook-hoax-largeAnother day, another Facebook hoax.

Or so it seems. It struck again yesterday.

As of September 26th , 2015 at 01:16 a.m. Eastern standard time, I do not give Facebook or any entities associated with Facebook permission to use my pictures, etc. …

At the same time, there was another hoax about Facebook charging to keep profiles private.

Neither are true, and if you’ve been around for any length of time, you’ve seen them before. Last night I saw more of them than ever before, so I took action. I posted on each that it’s a hoax, and posted three statuses on my personal profile and one on my business page to advise that it’s a hoax. The responses I got were interesting.

Well, it might not be true, but just in case …

Thanks for letting me know it’s a hoax.

Well, it may be a hoax, but it’s harmless … (a variation on the first response)

The fact is, it’s not harmless. It’s not harmless to post things as fact when you’re not sure they are true. It took me 30 seconds to search Google and find an article from no less a source than CBS News that confirmed my initial understanding. [Tweet ” It might be “just” Facebook, but the truth is, you’re posting something as fact under your name that you do not know to be fact. “] That is a breach of integrity in my world. If I see you posting something without checking it out, I don’t trust your words to be true. If you have potential business associates, customers, or clients you’re connected to on Facebook, you’ve just told them that you’re sloppy with the truth. Still think it’s harmless?

I’m going to rip the Band-Aid off now and, as we say in the South, get down to brass tacks: it makes you look foolish. Anyone who has been on the Internet for any time knows about urban legends and how to avoid posting them as truth. To post them as fact makes you look naive and, frankly, lazy. No one will appreciate your “informing” them of these lies; the most common reaction you’ll get is the eye roll. Aren’t your reputation and credibility worth the 30 – 60 seconds it takes to check it out?

As for Facebook, here’s how it works. Facebook’s real customers are not its users; their customers are their advertisers. There is absolutely no motivation for Facebook to change their business model. According to Fortune.com,

” … The social network released its quarterly figures for 2015’s second quarter, and to the delight of investors, its mobile advertising revenue continues to grow, now making up 76% of its total ad revenue, or $2.9 billion. In the first quarter, it was only 73%, and in the second quarter of 2014 it was a mere 62%.

I’m certainly no finance expert, but, it you think through this it makes no sense that Facebook would change their business model to a subscription plan. They are killing it with ad revenue and it’s only trending upward. Think.

There is nothing to be gained by posting Facebook “copyright notices,” other than killing your credibility and making you look silly.

According to attorney Brett Snider, anything you post publicly on Facebook is fair game, and you agreed to it when you set up your account. None of these “notices” are going to change that.

“Whatever words or information you post under the “Public” setting are fair game for anyone to use. That means if you share your recipe on Facebook, and celebrity chef Bobby Flay decides to appropriate it for his next cookbook, you won’t be getting any royalties. This is partially because recipes generally aren’t available for copyright, but most of your posts containing words and information aren’t either.”

In layman’s terms, Facebook has license to use the photos and videos you post (which you own) in any way it sees fit, without paying you, and it can transfer that license to third parties.”

If you want to know for sure what you’ve agreed to, go read the fine print. But posting these notices does not change your agreement with Facebook in any way.

Facebook itself has taken steps to deal with these urban legends. You’ll now be able to click the arrow on the upper right side of the post and label it a “false news story.” If your post gets a few of these labels, it will be hidden in the newsfeed. So not only will it not be seen, but it may affect how many of your friends see your regular posts if you’re in the habit of posting hoaxes. I promise that I will personally tag any hoaxes that come through my feed.


So how do I know if the stories I read online are true?

The first place I go is Snopes. The site is wholly owned by research professionals Barbara and David Mikkelson, and funded entirely by advertising revenues. It has long been respected as a credible source for determining the truth of online rumors.

Snopes almost always has information about the rumor, and, secondly, Google is your friend. For the recent hoaxes, I simply searched, “Facebook privacy notice” and in less than 30 seconds had the CBS News article.

I urge you to stop the spread of lies on the Facebook, and on the Internet. Check it out before you post.

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