Fake Facebook Privacy Notice Going Viral

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As Sophos' Chester Wisniewski pointed out in a recent blog post, an official-sounding disclaimer that countless Facebook users have recently been posting to their profiles does not do anything to alter Facebook's official terms of service and privacy policies.

"Unfortunately taking control of your online identity is not as simple as making a declaration on your Facebook wall," Wisniewski writes. "Using any website to store content or personal details requires compliance with the site's Terms of Service. These messages are simply another chain letter type hoax pinned upon wishful thinking."

As Snopes point out, "The bottom line is that before you can use Facebook, you must indicate your acceptance of that social network's legal terms, which includes its privacy policy. You cannot alter your acceptance of that agreement, nor can you restrict the rights of entities who are not parties to that agreement, simply by posting a notice to your Facebook account or citing the Uniform Commercial Code (UCC)."

"Posting a notice to your Facebook account asserting control over your privacy is just as effective as tossing a dime into a fountain -- except you’re pretty clear that you’re now down by ten cents by your own hand," writes ZDNet's Violet Blue. "Many people are so nervous and bewildered by Facebook’s privacy issues they don’t know which way is up. The false 'Privacy Notice' meme underscores just how confused and worried Facebook users have become."

"Social networking is melting our brains," writes CSO Online's Bill Brenner. "Maybe we need to walk away more often."