What’s Up with the Disclaimers on Facebook?

Avisados by Daniel Lobos, Ruth Carter

Avisados by Daniel Lobos

I’ve had multiple people ask for my take on the following disclaimer that lots of people are posting on their Facebook timelines:

Warning: Any person and/or institution and/or Agent and/or Agency of any governmental structure including but not limited to the United States Federal Government also using or monitoring/using this website or any of its associated websites, you do NOT have my permission to utilize any of my profile information nor any of the content contained herein including, but not limited to my photographs, and/or the comments made about my photographs or any other “art” related posts on my profile. You are hereby notified that you are strictly prohibited from disclosing, copying, distributing, disseminating, or taking any other action against me with regard to this profile and the contents herein. The foregoing prohibitions also apply to your employee(s), agent(s), student(s) or any personnel under your direction or control. The contents of this profile are private and legally privileged and confidential information, and the violation of my personal privacy is punishable by law.


Apparently people think that rules regarding others’ use of their information and intellectual property changed when Facebook became publicly traded and that posting this disclaimer will prevent others from using their photos and other information contained in their profiles. I hate to burst your bubble, but it doesn’t.

When you signed up for Facebook, you agreed to the terms of the site. The fact that Facebook is now publicly traded doesn’t change anything related to how Facebook can use your information that you willingly posted to your profile.

The current Facebook terms state that you gave Facebook a “non-exclusive, transferable, sub-licensable, royalty-free, worldwide license to use any [intellectual property] content that you post on or in connection with Facebook.” This license ends when you delete the information from your profile. So if you don’t want Facebook to use any of your information or photographs, delete them.

Posting this disclaimer will have no effect. By using Facebook, you continue to agree to abide by the terms of the site. If you read Facebook’s terms and conditions, you will notice that there’s no provision that says you can change the terms. Your options are to accept the terms and keep using the site or to delete everything on your profile and stop using Facebook. You can’t manipulate the terms to get what you want this time.

If you want more information about this issue, check out the Snopes page on this topic.

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