Why is your statement worth nothing on Facebook?

Why is your statement worth nothing on Facebook?

Not the first time, and not the last time, some Facebook users have not verified or understood a piece of specific information, and despite that, they were tempted to go on. Recently, however, the wave of Facebook statement chains has increased.

All this is due to a mysterious change in “Roman law”, which supposedly should protect Facebook users from the exploitation of intellectual property of users and violation of their privacy.


Everything becomes public from tomorrow. Even deleted messages and photos. Simple copy and paste cost you nothing! 

“Channel 13 News” mentioned the changes to Facebook’s privacy policy. I do not give Facebook any permission to use my photos, information, messages, or posts, both past and future. 

With this statement, I noticed that it is strictly forbidden to disclose, copy, distribute or take any other action against me depending on this profile and/or its content. The content of this profile consists of private and confidential information. 

Violation of privacy can be punished by law (ucc 1-308-1 1 308-103 and Rome status). 

NOTE: Facebook is now a public entity. All members must publish such a note. If you prefer, you can copy and paste this version. If you do not post your statement at least once, it will be automatically authorized to use your photos as well as the information contained in your profile status update. Don’t share. Copy and paste

It is a slightly extended version of the chain message that regularly appears on the portal in a shortened version (the last five sentences). However, it is just as nonsensical as its shorter version. Obviously, it seems to be fake, doesn’t it? Unfortunately not to everyone.

On an everyday basis, I see my friends (not infrequently my peers – not older or people who don’t follow technological news) who completely do not understand the principles of Facebook or Instagram.

As an advertiser, I rub my eyes with amazement each time I am being called the worst names because I supposedly “wrote to someone” (who clicked “send a message”), appeared on someone else’s website (in the feed section), on someone’s private laptop, or (oh my God!) smartphone.

However, misunderstanding is one thing, but being lazy and not reading instructions and information on the screen is a completely different matter.

In the first case, you can educate them referring to the consents granted by the recipient, or Facebook policy that we all consciously (I hope) read through and accept. In the other case, even the best materials and the simplest explanations remain hopeless.

I hope you belong to the first group and you will learn from this article. So let’s bust the myth of the Facebook statement type of message, and think about what can realistically be done if we don’t want Facebook to use our content.



The very first sentence is intended to scare the unaware of the rules of the portal users. Triple exclamation marks, capslock, generalization, deadline, and the CTA (call to action) “don’t forget” – are fear triggers, prompting you to act impulsively without thinking it through.

Pay attention to these forms. Apart from causing fear they can also give you the kind of excitement that we so often feel while purchasing goods. Some of them (ie CTA, limited time, highlighting the most important features in capital letters) are used in ads to attract your attention and persuade you to buy quickly.

These are somewhat similar emotions that make us want to brag (and therefore share the information we’ve just received). It indicates that the message creator knew what he was doing. When you see such message, your first thought should be “I will check it on Google” instead of copy and paste it forward. But more on that in a moment.


I do not give Facebook any permission to use my photos, information, messages, or posts, both past and future. 

With this statement, I noticed that it is strictly forbidden to disclose, copy, distribute or take any other action against me depending on this profile and/or its content.

The second sign indicating that something is wrong should be the language used in the message. After all, doesn’t this sentence look to you as if it was translated in Google translator? (and probably the version from 2010! Nowadays the translator is doing a much better job). Doesn’t it remind you of all those emails from the King of Nigeria who keeps a gold deposit for you in the vault, but you only have to do one thing to get it?

Weird language should always be the alarm – regardless of whether we see the information on Facebook, in an email, or on the news portal. The majority of scams or fake news is based on automatic translations which immediately raises suspicions.

Although it is not a rule, real media always attempt to provide you with information in a linguistically correct form (or at least that is what they assume).

By the way, you know what? Speaking of the translator from 10 years ago, I didn’t make a mistake – the first information denying the trustworthiness of information contained in the statement-chain messages of this kind appeared on the Internet over six years ago.

Yes, the same text has been around for so many years and people are mindlessly contributing to its spread!

It’s all because that “terrifying” message that also looks like a proper piece of news which is carelessly passed on by users.

A little prey on emotions and human laziness is the perfect recipe for …

Fake news

Channel 13 News mentioned changes to Facebook’s privacy policy.

Since Channel 13 News mentioned the changes, we would probably find more than one copy of such material on YouTube that would explain everything to us. So let’s check it!

Warto zwrócić uwagę na zaznaczone filmy omawiające facebookowy łańcuszek – sama ich obecność w temacie powinna wzbudzić Wasze podejrzenia w stosunku do oświadczenia.

Of course, YouTube is not a reliable source of information, however, it is worth carrying your own research on this platform in case of drawing further conclusions. Since we have not found any copies of the mentioned material on YouTube, let’s keep digging.

Let’s have a look at a few news services websites searching for the entry “channel 13 news”. After spending a while in archives it’s enough to find out that none of them gives this type of information.

Quoting as news services doesn’t automatically make the information truthful. Moreover, even if the website publishes a specific message, it usually tells its recipients the source of such information (as long as it is not confidential).

Use Google, ask, drill deep, and check the accuracy of the information – look for sources and confirmations in multiple trusted media at once, or official statements of the entities concerned in the article.

This is a simple method that will work well for most of the fake news.

If it feels necessary – call them! This is what professional journalist (at least assumed) does, and that is what we should all do, taking responsibility for what we share.


At the end of the statement, as a cherry on the top, goes my favorite fragment. Hundreds of its variations have been created over the years:

Violation of privacy can be punished by law (ucc 1-308-1 1 308-103 and Rome status). 

NOTE: Facebook is now a public entity. All members must publish such a note. If you prefer, you can copy and paste this version. If you do not post your statement at least once, it will be automatically authorized to use your photos as well as the information contained in your profile status update.

Bez względu na to jak bardzo prawniczego języka użyjemy w oświadczeniu i na jakie statuty się nie powołamy – nie ma to wpływu na udzielone portalowi zgody
First of all, “the law and status of Rome” – googling for five minutes was enough for me to find the information about the Roman Statute of the International Criminal Court treating, inter alia, about the most serious crimes of international importance (genocide, etc.). Therefore, it has nothing to do with the privacy of Facebook users.

We can still find articles about this terrible public entity that Facebook is about to become. Perhaps such a phrase sounds absurd to you but some people automatically take everything for granted if they see professional or legal-sounding language.

Well, our brains are constructed in such a way that we rely on simplifications in order to save energy. Our task (although not easy) is to question ourselves after reading particular articles and watch out not to get caught in such traps because of our tendency to automatic thinking.

So what does it mean that Facebook becomes a public entity?

For example, you can start by checking the definition of a public entity (for example the Polish one, within the meaning of Article 2 of the Act of February 17, 2005 on the computerization of the activities of entities performing public tasks or Article 4 (1) and 2 of the Act of September 6, 2001. on access to public information (Journal of Laws of 2001, No. 112, item 1198, as amended)), the analysis of which one can draw a conclusion that Facebook doesn’t qualify as a public entity.

This fact is also confirmed by the form of activity conducted by the company. A quick research and we have information: Facebook, Inc. So (Incorporation) Facebook is a joint-stock company (on the stock exchange since May 18, 2012).

Therefore, information about the alleged public entity is total nonsense – just another “scarecrow”. Facebook is a private company – a company managed by CEO Mark Zuckerberg and it is up to him (and the company’s management) how the portal’s resources will be used.

So, it is for Facebook to decide what’s what!

Therefore, all forms of complaint about the fact that Facebook has blocked someone’s account or that Facebook uses any content published on the portal will be unjustified.

Korzystając z portalu, automatycznie zgadzamy się na wykorzystywanie tworzonych i udostępnianych przez nas treści

There is no such thing as being entitled to Facebook. 

It’s the same with having the right to be a customer of a local store.

If Janusz – the grocery store owner – decides “we are not selling you” then, according to such a declaration, he may never sell you anything again. This is the freedom to run your own business.

He can also post a note informing about the 24/7 monitoring of the store, so customers could choose themselves – agree to record their visit to the store or stop shopping there.

Why is Facebook not allowed to do whatever it wants?

As in the case of a local shop, the owner cannot publish, modify or use the materials on which you appear for his own purposes (personal image protection law forbids him so), Facebook also cannot do it in principle.

Nor can it use your photos, videos, notes, statuses, and other materials published on your behalf as your work (pursuant to Article 7.1 of the Berne Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works). He can’t … until you let him.

Can Facebook do as it wants?

It happens that you allow it to do so. And on the contrary to the statement made in the fake message, you do it automatically.

Point 3 of the regulations, to which we contribute when creating an account on the portal, says:

Permission to use content that you create and share: Some content that you share or upload, such as photos or videos, may be protected by intellectual property laws.

You own the intellectual property rights (things such as copyright or trademarks) in any such content that you create and share on Facebook and the other Facebook Company Products you use. Nothing in these Terms takes away the rights you have to your own content. You are free to share your content with anyone else, wherever you want.

However, to provide our services, we need you to give us some legal permissions (known as a ‘licence’) to use this content. This is solely for the purposes of providing and improving our Products and services as described in Section 1 above.

Specifically, when you share, post or upload content that is covered by intellectual property rights on or in connection with our Products, you grant us a non-exclusive, transferable, sub-licensable, royalty-free and worldwide licence to host, use, distribute, modify, run, copy, publicly perform or display, translate and create derivative works of your content (consistent with your privacy and application settings). This means, for example, that if you share a photo on Facebook, you give us permission to store, copy and share it with others (again, consistent with your settings) such as service providers that support our service or other Facebook Products you use.This licence will end when your content is deleted from our systems.

Of course, copyrights are not transferable, but by creating an account on this social network, you consent to Facebook’s use of the content you share and create.

Just like in the case of the “At Janusz’s store” situation – you either agree to the rules of using the portal and use it, or you don’t agree and don’t create an account.

Usunięcie konta to (nie)stety jedyny sposób na to, aby Facebook „nie był upoważniony do korzystania z Twoich” zdjęć, wpisów… czegokolwiek.

It is also worth paying attention to the provision of privacy settings selected by the user. If we leave our published content private (non-public) or limited only to friends (etc. in terms of privacy settings), Facebook will be able to use this content only in this regard.

How to effectively revoke Facebook’s data permission?

Well, the portal doesn’t hide that option at all. This can be done very easily – by deleting the account:

You can delete content individually or all at once by deleting your account. 

When you delete content, it’s no longer visible to other users; 

however, it may continue to exist elsewhere on our systems where:

  • Immediate deletion is not possible due to technical limitations (in which case, your content will be deleted within a maximum of 90 days from when you delete it);
  • your content has been used by others in accordance with this licence and they have not deleted it (in which case, this licence will continue to apply until that content is deleted); or
  • Where immediate deletion would restrict our ability to:
  • investigate or identify illegal activity or breaches of our Terms and Policies (for example, to identify or investigate misuse of our Products or systems);
  • comply with a legal obligation, such as the preservation of evidence; or
  • comply with a request of a judicial or administrative authority, law enforcement or a government agency;

in which case, the content will be retained for no longer than is necessary for the purposes for which it has been retained (the exact duration will vary on a case-by-case basis).
In each of the above cases, this licence will continue until the content has been fully deleted.

It may be upsetting or disappointing, but that’s how business works. You have agreed to specific terms and conditions and no “statements” will help. You can only leave the “shop”.

Możemy być pewni, że facebookowe oświadczenia nie mają żadnej mocy prawnej i nikt (oprócz naszych znajomych) ich nigdy nie przeczyta. Ale mem genialny.

Nobody from Facebook will now read all variations of non-official statements concerning private policy. And the only way to protect our content is … not to publish it in the first place.

Facebook doesn’t read your messages

Of course, when it comes to private messages – officially (according to Mark Zuckerberg’s statement before the Senate) Facebook, nor any entity cooperating with it, has access to their content.

Unofficially, and from experiments (like this one), we know that Facebook probably not only reads our messages but also listens to what we talk about.

Or does it read a little?

On the other hand, there is nothing to be afraid of – it is not an employee, but an algorithm that, based on keywords (spoken and written in the right context), assigns appropriate features and interests to our profiles, optimizing the data and creating each of us the right profile (although it should not be a surprise to us – we agree to the regulations, which we have read carefully, haven’t we?).

So if you see an ad for cosmetics that you’ve texted about with your friend, probably no one from any Facebook Team knows that such a conversation took place at all, and the ad itself has matched automatically, without the indirect involvement of employees or advertisers.

From the point of a marketer’s view, I find this situation fascinating.

As for a human being, a bit terrifying. Anyway, it is good to know how this portal which we all use on a daily basis and to which we give unlimited access to our creativity and privacy works.

Such awareness wouldn’t harm anybody, on the contrary – it is the driving force behind the trend for not using Facebook. Is this the right way out of the situation? Certainly for some. But is it for you? 

Let me know in the comments!


If you’d like to know more about safety on Facebook, join our group where we help each other in such matters.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *