November 27, 2012

Dear Facebook Users: Just Stop

Our world is progressively moving towards Facebook. It’s where we connect with friends old and new and do our best to either shock our parents and family our hide our indiscretions from them. As such, some basic rules of etiquette are beginning to bleed over from Real Life into Facebook world. For instance, nobody likes an ass-kisser in Real Life. Their compliments may be nice at first, but sooner or later the sheen of their words rubs off and become nothing more than white noise, something that gets lost in the rest of the conversation.

It can also be annoying in Real Life for a person to make untrue and wildly paranoid claims about…well, anything really. Facebook users all too often fall for these types of hoaxes, posting statements about how Facebook is going to start charging its users or how the government is removing “In God We Trust” from dollar coins. What’s even more frustrating about these paranoid and reactionary statements and wall posts is that they’re posted on the Internet: The worlds largest information tool. Perhaps it’s simply much easier to copy and paste a link rather than take a few moments to verify the information?

Take, for instance, the latest Copy-and-Paste Craze to hit the Facebooks:

“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! (Anyone reading this can copy this text and paste it on their Facebook Wall.)”

On one hand, it’s really sweet that these users think this little declaration saves their “work” from being molested by a large, social corporation. On the other hand, making this declaration makes as much sense as refusing to pay your taxes because you think they’re illegal.

To begin with, anyone who signs up for a Facebook account has to agree to some terms. In fact, anyone who signs up for any service these days has to agree to a long, lengthy list of legalese jargon that attempts to exhaustively define the impending relationship between the company and the user. When you agreed to Facebook’s terms of use, you already signed away some of your rights, one of which is what Facebook does with your information and photos. It’s likely this hoax has come back to life now that Facebook is back in the news for their “Sponsored Stories” drama. Last year, some Facebook users began to notice pictures of their friends in advertisements. If a friend “liked” a certain company, that data (along with the friend’s picture) would then be used in an advertisement for that company, essentially recruiting friends to advertise to other friends without the first friend’s permission. A judge is soon to rule on whether he will accept a proposed settlement from Facebook.

There’s an episode of South Park that many will likely be familiar with concerning Apple’s terms of use agreement and what happens when you don’t read the entire document. It’s a sad state of affairs, but we’ve already agreed to hand over so much of our data and privacy that believing a simple cut and paste job can protect us is…well, it’s pretty childish, to be honest.

What’s more, a simple Snopes search could provide you with all the information you need about said hoax.

Saith the Snopes:

“Facebook users cannot retroactively negate any of the privacy or copyright terms they agreed to when they signed up for their Facebook accounts nor can they unilaterally alter or contradict terms instituted by Facebook simply by posting a contrary legal notice on their Facebook walls.”

In essence, posting this little rant on your wall is essentially reneging on the contract you’ve already signed, which, in a way, makes you even more diabolical than the evil Facebook. At least they were upfront and honest with what they intended to do, you just didn’t have the time and needed to start stalking potential love interests.

It’s likely you’ve seen this (or something like this) pop up on your Facebook wall. Now that you know the truth, the courteous thing to do would be to abstain from reposting and further annoying your friends who know this is bunk.

For bonus points, you could also politely point anyone who posts this hoax on their wall to Snopes.com.

Just don’t be rude about it.

After all, no one likes the person who constantly corrects everyone in Real Life. It’s even more annoying in Facebook land.

Image Credit: Photos.com

Facebook Twitter Pinterest Plusone Digg Reddit Stumbleupon Email