Facebook: Your SECRETS Are Safe!

Furious about a perceived injustice, Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) users have been taking to the social network this week to decry the sharing of their private data with the government. The rumor that Facebook’s new status as a publicly-traded company is putting users’ privacy at risk has given way to a tersely-worded notice that has been posted on thousands of user profiles: “The contents of this profile are private and legally privileged and confidential information, and the violation of my personal privacy is punishable by law,” reads one version of the notice.

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The reaction reflects just how much Facebook users value their privacy — which has certainly been tampered with over the years by Facebook itself — but there’s one major flaw in their argument: it’s fundamentally based on an untruth.

And that untruth is that Facebook’s privacy policy will change as a result of its new status, something Facebook today told Law Blog that users need not fear. There is a “false rumor circulating to a small online population that Facebook is making a change related to users’ information or content they post to the site,” a spokesman said in a statement.

“To be clear — anyone who uses Facebook owns and controls the content and information they post, as stated in our terms. They control how that content and information is shared,” the statement continued. “That is our policy, and it always has been.” In its policies, Facebook says it won’t share any personal information without being given permission, giving you notice, or removing your name or other identifying information from the data.

Not only does Facebook have no plans to change its privacy policy, its status as a publicly-traded company has nothing to do with privacy rights, which means the damning rumor was build on a preposterous premise. That just goes to show the power of social media to spread information — even disinformation — like wildfire.

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