Tech

This is how we can beat the Facebook Hoax once and for all

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David Cornish
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Go to Facebook right now. Have a scroll through your Feed - a good couple of finger drags on that mouse wheel. Go deep, deep into the Feed.

Someone will have shared it. Probably your nan, or your mate's mum, or that family friend who still sends you a Christmas card and only has six other Facebook mates. Someone will have read the following, believed every single word of it, and carried out a swift Ctrl+C, Ctrl+V. 

Deadline tomorrow !!! Everything you’ve ever posted becomes public from tomorrow. Even messages that have been deleted or the photos not allowed. It costs nothing for a simple copy and paste, better safe than sorry... I do not give Facebook or any entities associated with Facebook permission to use my pictures, information, messages or posts, both past and future. With this statement, I give notice to Facebook it is strictly forbidden to disclose, copy, distribute, or take any other action against me based on this profile and/or its contents.

It's got various iterations kicking around on the social network like a cancerous chain letter since someone thought it would be funny to try it in the mid 2000s.

It's rubbish - which you know, we know and the majority of your Facebook contacts know. But someone always falls for its faux legal wording. A fresh wave of this 'hoax' has crept its way over from the US in recent week, prompting others to follow suit; "Oh well, if Chris has done it, maybe I should do it. Chris knows about these things. He's got a MySpace account."

It needs to stop. Right now. So we propose a solution: a counter hoax. Send them a link to this article in a comment to the post. Nothing like "It's not true" or "It's a hoax" - that won't work, they've already given life to the conspiracy, they won't turn back. You've got to push them along, gently, in the direction they're already headed. 

"Hey [name of idiot], thanks for sharing. Didn't realise etc. You might find this interesting as well."

They'll skim through the above and get to this point: 

Hello, Facebook user. You've been sent here because you copied and pasted a comment that implied you "strictly forbid" Facebook from sharing any your profile or its contents for its own uses. We just wanted to tell you that's total bollocks. It's a hoax that Facebook addressed back in 2012, but keeps popping up thanks to mugs like you.

Thing is, you've already given Facebook permission to collect a lot of your data. Most of it, in fact. You can read all about it here, but highlights include the fact they know what apps you use, what websites you visit, where you took that holiday photo - the lot. It's a free website, that makes all of its money from the information you happily provide it. It's very upfront about it.

No copied and pasted statement on your profile is going to impact Facebook's data policy - that's not how this sort of thing works. Go and read the data policy, and if you decide you don't like how much Facebook knows about you, stop using it. That's all you can do. 

Armed with the above, we can cure the disease that is the Facebook hoax. Or annoy your mate's mum, same thing really. 

(Image: Rex)

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David Cornish

Shortlist.com’s esteemed Tech Editor. David has a keen interest in video games, Star Wars and stuff that runs on batteries.

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