Please Stop Believing These Ridiculous Facebook Hoaxes About Your Photos and Data
Over the last couple days, another one of these status update-based hoaxes has popped up, and people all over my Facebook feed are going nuts sharing it. Just like every other time this has come up, Facebook is not going to do what these viral hoaxes say. Here's the text of the latest hoax you've probably seen (or maybe you've even posted yourself) by now:
Even if you're one of those people that just shared this "because, well, I'd rather be safe than sorry", you're just fueling a fire that doesn't need to exist.
Here's the thing about online services like Facebook: They all have very airtight legal Terms of Service (you know, that thing for which you just hit "accept" without reading). These Terms of Service detail the relationship between you and the company providing the service. Both you and the company providing the ToS are legally bound by this, as long as they are still providing the service to you, and you are still using their service. That's why I'd recommend at least skimming through it before you blindly tap "accept". Also, when there are updates to the ToS, you might want to read them. It might be something you object to. If you do, then you need to make the decision of whether or not you want to continue using the service.
In case you're curious, here is Facebook's Terms of Service. It details data privacy and explicitly states early on (Number 2 in the ToS) that "You own all of the content and information you post on Facebook, and you can control how it is shared through your privacy and application settings." This is an automatic part of your "agreement" with Facebook. This also further explains rules about how public (or private) your posts are, and what happens when you delete something. Again, definitely worth reading.
To quickly summarize (and address the scare over all your stuff going public), the ToS says that anything you make public is public, anything you share with just your friends is just among friends, and anything that's private is private. It might be a good idea to look through your posts and make sure that your privacy settings on any posts or photos of concern are marked appropriately. This is just good practice all the time, not just when a hoax has you freaked out about the world seeing your every status update or photo.
Furthermore, Snopes makes a great point. They explain that if there was something you didn't like in the ToS, you can't "retroactively negate" the terms you agreed to (you know, when you hit "agree" just to get on with your account setup) with a status update after the fact. It isn't that easy to alter a legally binding agreement.
This is just the latest iteration of chain letters, "threatening" that something bad will happen if you don't spread the word. The next time you see someone sharing a status like this, do a little research and ask some questions, and don't just feed into the fire that gets people panicked for no reason.