Monday, December 6, 2021
Monday, December 6, 2021
HomeFact CheckNo, Meta Is Not Changing Facebook Privacy Policy, Viral 'Privacy Notice' Hoax...

No, Meta Is Not Changing Facebook Privacy Policy, Viral ‘Privacy Notice’ Hoax Resurrected

The Facebook ‘privacy notice’ hoax has struck again, this time linked to the recent rebranding of the social media giant as Meta. A viral forward doing the rounds in Whatsapp groups claims that along with the name change, Meta is altering Facebook privacy policy which would allow it to use images and other personal information (including messages that have been deleted) posted by users. The post further urges users to copy-paste a ‘privacy notice’ that states that the user does not consent to their data being used by the company as a preventative measure. Newschecker’s analysis has found the claim to be false.

Facebook privacy policy change claim
Screengrabs of one of the Facebook posts

The message reads “The new Facebook/Meta rule starts tomorrow where they can use your photos. Don’t forget the deadline is today! This could be used in lawsuits against you. Everything you’ve ever posted is posted today – even messages that have been deleted. It doesn’t cost anything, just copy and post, better than regretting later.”

The message on Facebook privacy policy being altered is being widely shared on both Facebook and WhatsApp. Newschecker received a request to fact check the claim on our WhatsApp helpline number (+91 9999499044). 

Facebook data policy change
The message claiming change in Facebook privacy policy that we received on Newschecker’s WhatsApp helpline

Fact Check/ Verification  

To verify the authenticity of the claim that Meta has altered the Facebook Privacy Policy, Newschecker began by analyzing the claims made in the viral forward. One of the sentences reads “Under UCC Law Sections 1-207, 1-308… I am imposing my Reservation of Rights” UCC refers to the Uniform Commercial Code, which governs all commercial transactions in the United States. This clearly indicates that the forward originated in the United States.

Newschecker also verified Facebook’s Data Policy page and found that it clearly states that the company has only changed its name, and that there has been no change in the Facebook privacy policy. “The Facebook company is now Meta. While our company name is changing, we are continuing to offer the same products, including the Facebook app from Meta. Our Data Policy and Terms of Service remain in effect, and this name change does not affect how we use or share data. Learn more about Meta and our vision for the metaverse,” reads the opening paragraph in the data policy page.

A screengrab of the data policy page that clarifies that Meta has not altered Facebook privacy policy

A Fox news report also declared the same viral post on Facebook’s privacy policy false after speaking to an official from the company. “People can continue to control their privacy preferences using the many user friendly self-serve tools we provide on Facebook, such as Privacy Checkup, and learn more about how we use and protect data in our Data Policy,” the report mentioned.

Speaking on the viral claim regarding Facebook privacy policy, cyber privacy activist and executive director of Internet Freedom Foundation Apar Gupta clarifies, “There are three claims here. One, Facebook has not changed its data policy even after rebranding itself as Meta. Two, in terms of the ownership of the videos and images, while the ownership remains with the user, Facebook is granted a license to use the images and videos for commercial purposes under the terms and conditions that one agrees to while signing up for the social media website.

“Third is regarding the deleted content being used. The deletion is not instant. It happens within 90 days, as the information resides in a server for compliance with legal obligations for data retention. If the content/information is licensed to third parties they may continue using it.”

The ‘privacy note’ hoax as it is called, has been around Facebook for several years and has been revived over and again in different contexts. The claims are same in all contexts- change in Facebook privacy policy, but the reason cited differs in each case. They were first seen in 2012 and later popped up in the 2014, 2015, 2016, 2019 and 2020.

Conclusion

The viral forward claiming that users can prevent Facebook from using their data by posting a ‘privacy note’ on their page is a hoax.

Result: Fabricated News

Sources

Fox News report

Facebook  

Our Sources


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Pankaj Menon
Pankaj Menon is a fact-checker based out of Delhi who enjoys ‘digital sleuthing’ and calling out misinformation. He has completed his MA in International Relations from Madras University and has worked with organisations like NDTV, Times Now and Deccan Chronicle online in the past.
Pankaj Menon
Pankaj Menon is a fact-checker based out of Delhi who enjoys ‘digital sleuthing’ and calling out misinformation. He has completed his MA in International Relations from Madras University and has worked with organisations like NDTV, Times Now and Deccan Chronicle online in the past.

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