1. Reports of Facebook users sharing a meaningless block of text about "copyright protection" are swirling the web in full force right now, indicating that a viral hoax from 2012 has resurfaced — likely in your own newsfeed.

    Does this look familiar?
  2. The post in question typically begins with some variation of the sentence “In response to the new Facebook guidelines, I hereby declare that my copyright is attached to all of my personal details, illustrations, comics, paintings, professional photos and videos, etc..."

    Essentially, the vaguely legal-sounding text contained within the post is meant to be copied by a user and then pasted into a status update on his or her own wall.

    The post promises that if a user does as instructed, he or she will be "placed under the protection of copyright laws" and that Facebook will be forbidden from claiming ownership of their content.

    This is, of course, malarky.

    As ABC News points out, the "Berner Convention" mentioned in the post doesn't actually even exist. The similarly named Berne convention, however, is an international agreement that's been protecting literary and artistic works since 1887.

    This point is moot, however, as Facebook users must agree to the company's legal terms of service upon registering for an account.

    A status update, no matter how strongly-worded, cannot override the already-binding agreement a user acknowledged upon joining the social network.

    "For content that is covered by intellectual property rights, like photos and videos (IP content), you specifically give us the following permission, subject to your privacy and application settings," reads the company's terms.

    "You grant us a non-exclusive, transferable, sub-licensable, royalty-free, worldwide license to use any IP content that you post on or in connection with Facebook (IP License). This IP License ends when you delete your IP content or your account unless your content has been shared with others, and they have not deleted it."
  3. That said, Facebook doesn't actually try to claim copyright for any of the content posted by users on its site.

    In response to a question in its FAQ section that reads "Do I retain the copyright and other legal rights to material I upload to Facebook?" the company wrote:

    "Yes, you retain the copyright to your content. When you upload your content, you grant us a license to use and display that content."

    This alone makes the fake copyright protection post that's been circulating unnecessary. The only thing you're really doing by posting it on your wall is annoying the people in your network whose feeds are being flooded by the same message.
  4. Gizmodo's Kate Knibb's broke down the entire viral statement sentence by sentence yesterday, reiterating several times that a simple wall post cannot "retroactively retract permissions granted to the company upon signing up for its services."

    "Posting that you do not give Facebook permission does not change the fact that, in using Facebook, you do," she wrote. "You can't do retroactive, unilateral takebacks on a policy you agreed to when you signed up for Facebook just by posting something on Facebook. That'd be like yelling 'We are divorced and our prenup is invalid!!!' through a loudspeaker at your spouse and expecting it to impact your legal marital status."

    This sentiment is also expressed clearly in a Snopes post which debunks the hoax and sheds light upon its 2012 origins.

    "If you do not agree with Facebook's stated policies, you have several options," reads the Snopes post, indicating that users can "Bilaterally negotiate a modified policy with Facebook" or "Lobby for Facebook to amend its policies through its Facebook Site Governance section."

    The most realistic options provided by Snopes and nearly every other writer around the web right now?

    "Decline to sign up for a Facebook account" and "Cancel your Facebook account."
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