Wednesday, October 19, 2016

An Urgent Facebook PSA

If you are on Facebook – and I am assuming you are by now, since you are a breathing human – you have no doubt seen the following status update on more than one friend’s page:

Just trying to be safe: Deadline tomorrow!!! Everything you've ever posted becomes public from tomorrow. Even messages that have been deleted or the photos not allowed. It costs nothing for a simple copy and paste, better safe than sorry. Channel 13 News talked about the change in Facebook's privacy policy.

I have been on Facebook for a long time now, and I have seen that fake deadline come and go at least four or five times in the last four or five years alone. I can assure you, if “Channel 13 News” talked about it, it was to attempt to let you know that this hoax comes around once every year, just like the winter solstice, or that fruitcake Aunt Edna baked back in ’79. The only news flash here is that everything you ever posted on Facebook was always public.

NOTE: Facebook is now a public entity. If you do not publish a statement at least once it will be tactically allowing the use of your photos, as well as the information contained in the profile status updates. DO NOT SHARE. Copy and paste.

Facebook is a free web service where you voluntarily post pictures of your cat. That’s all it is. It happens to be a very large free web service with a zillion cat pictures, but let’s not kid ourselves. And what the hell does “tactically allowing” mean?

This is my favorite part:

I do not give Facebook or any entities associated with Facebook permission to use my pictures, information, messages or posts, both past and future. With this statement, I give notice to Facebook it is strictly forbidden to disclose, copy, distribute, or take any other action against me based on this profile and/or its contents. The content of this profile is private and confidential information. The violation of privacy can be punished by law (UCC 1-308- 1 1 308-103 and the Rome Statute).

With this statement, I give notice to Facebook... Yes, because all legal matters these days can be handled by posting lawyerish-sounding phrases on a free social media site. That’s why we don’t need lawyers anymore.

Judge: “Mr. Johnson, you’re being charged with bank robbery, how do you plead?”
Mr. Johnson: “Totally not guilty, Your Honor.”
Bank’s Lawyer: “You walked into our branch and demanded five hundred thousand dollars in cash.”
Mr. Johnson: “Well, yeah, but that’s only because I saw a tweet that said you guys were giving away free money to anyone who asked for it in a low voice while keeping one hand in the pocket of their sweatshirt.”
Judge: “Oh, snap! There was a tweet?”
Bank’s Lawyer: “Wow, sorry. We totally didn’t know that someone tweeted that. Our bad.”
Judge: “Case dismissed.”

The content of this profile is private and confidential information. Yes, that’s why I’m using this free web service as a personal diary, making vague references to my crappy day and how I’m such a bad parent. I do that to get my own private and confidential thoughts down onto a virtual page so I can reflect on them later, privately. I never do that so other people will publicly ask me what’s wrong and send me encouraging messages about how I’m a great parent. I wouldn’t want that kind of public attention on this public free web service when I’m trying to be so private and confidential.

And then, to cap off the awesome, what appears to be the phone number of a pizza place in western Nebraska is listed at the bottom, with “The Rome Statute” thrown in for good measure, which simply doesn’t apply to this fake problem anyway. Besides the fact that no privacy actually exists in my relationship with Facebook (and "any entities associated with Facebook”), the real reason is that the Rome Statute doesn’t even remotely apply to anything having to do with pictures of my lunch.

In my exhaustive ten-second Wikipedia search, I found out The Rome Statute establishes four core international crimes: genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes, and the crime of aggression. Even if my Facebook account could be considered international since I frequently post pictures of tacos, none of those four crimes seem to apply here.

But, hey, I understand if you’re new to the Facebook world and you got duped by this recurring hoax. Lawyers are scary, and like it says in this one and the ‘Bill Gates is going to give money to everyone who posts this’ one, better safe than sorry.

If you did happen to post that warning to your wall, and now you’re suddenly regretting it, have no fear. I have written something you can replace it with. Feel free to copy and paste!

Just trying to be safe, since the deadline is tomorrow. Not a specific date, mind you, but tomorrow for Pete’s sake!!! I hereby totally give Facebook or any entities associated with Facebook 100% permission to use my pictures, information, messages and posts, both past and future. With this statement, I give notice to Facebook it is strictly forbidden NOT TO disclose, copy, distribute, or take any other action against me based on my profile and/or its contents. The contents of this profile are so awesome that I would be legally and morally offended if Facebook didn’t take full advantage of it. And I’m not even limiting this to just the stuff I have on Facebook. I mean my actual stuff, like my couch and my food, as well as any of my relatives that will go without a fight. I now hereby renounce all my possessions and my relatives, and give Facebook the legal authority to do whatever they want with them. I give no other entity that is not associated with Facebook any authority whatsoever for anything. Facebook is now in charge of everything. Because I used the words ‘hereby’ and ‘whatsoever,’ this is totally legal and stuff.

There you go. It’s just as legally binding, but now maybe Facebook will come and get rid of that old couch for you. And maybe Aunt Edna’s fruitcake.

Maybe even Aunt Edna, too!

See you soon,


Copyright © 2016 Marc Schmatjen

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