Andres Guadamuz

I have been seeing different versions of the following legal-looking privacy statement on Facebook popping up through my timeline:

“Facebook is now a publicly traded entity. Unless you state otherwise, anyone can infringe on your right to privacy once you post to this site. It is recommended that you and other members post a similar notice as this, or you may copy and paste this version. If you do not post such a statement once, then you are indirectly allowing public use of items such as your photos and the information contained in your status updates.

PRIVACY NOTICE: 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 photos, and/or the comments made about my photos or any other “picture” art posted 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 , agent , student 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. UCC 1-103 1-308 ALL RIGHTS RESERVED WITHOUT PREJUDICE. (M)”

It is interesting how hoaxers seem to exploit modern-day anxieties through Facebook. Urban legends used to involve elaborate morality plays involving sexy vixens and kidney removal operations. Now they take shape as fear of losing all of your precious FB content. It is even more interesting that the above statements are actually being reproduced outside of the US, as if somehow we are all subject to US jurisdiction and laws.

Needless to say, the legality of such statements is null, and it seems to be related to an old (and useless) legal statement in websites which was supposed to immunise the user against copyright infringement claims (hint, it did not).

When people sign up for Facebook, and any other web service, they have to agree to the site’s terms of use, which govern the rights of the parties involved (namely you and the provider). It is not possible to pick and choose parts of the terms of use. While there may be parts of the ToU that could be deemed illegal, this has to be declared by a judge. Furthermore, the article is talking about section 1-308 of the Unified Commercial Code, which does not have the meaning that the hoaxer gives it, and is popular with anti-government types in the US. The section reads:

Ҥ 1-308. Performance or Acceptance Under Reservation of Rights.
(a) A party that with explicit reservation of rights performs or promises performance or assents to performance in a manner demanded or offered by the other party does not thereby prejudice the rights reserved. Such words as “without prejudice,” “under protest,” or the like are sufficient.
(b) Subsection (a) does not apply to an accord and satisfaction.”

The above means that the agreement does not affect existing reserved rights, nothing more, nothing less. Conspiracy buffs believe that this section somehow grant the person using it amazing legal powers, such as the power to get away with drunk driving and other traffic violations. This comes from a mistake in the legal concept of contract. The truth is, you cannot disclaim yourself out of legal obligations.

In short, if you have privacy concerns, you should not be using Facebook in the first place.

Categories: Facebook



Jonathan Mitchell · October 2, 2012 at 10:24 pm

On the UCC reference, there's a compendious Canadian decision in Meads v Meads,… , where the judge notes at paragraph 157 "the UCC is also a common motif in material from Canadian OPCA gurus, and forms a significant element in much OPCA mythology. However, why anyone would believe that American commercial legislation would apply in Canada is baffling. Still, OPCA litigants indicate that this legislation has a broad, even extraordinary scope. My office has recently received a document where an OPCA litigant said theUCC applies to governments, “… whether interstellar, intergalactic, international, national, state, provincial, or local …”


Dnice · March 7, 2013 at 4:28 pm

The Clown that wrote this article has very little or no understanding of real law and seems to think that color of law or legal statute or code substitutes law. You are miss leading many into thinking that just because they are cohered or tricked into contracting that they have no recourse or redress…you are so wrong. Maybe you are a slug of a person trying to miss lead people but if you are just ignorant you need to revisit this subject after much research!


    Andres · March 8, 2013 at 9:52 pm

    Delightful comment. I know better than to feed the trolls, but I can't resist.

    Pray tell, can you point out what is specifically wrong with the article? It's not clear what you disagree with.

Facebook is now a publicly traded entity « Fiannaiochta · October 2, 2012 at 2:15 am

[…] Facebook privacy statement hoax ( […]

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