Posted in complaint department, Open Letters, Real Life, The Internet

Fake FB Warnings and You

Please, dear God, stop copying and pasting false info about FB privacy and/or usage charges. The things they claim aren’t true, and you’re feeding the misinformation machine.

The reason they want you to “put your finger anywhere” and copy and paste the text into a new message is because “sharing” allows FB to remove the original and kill it down to the roots, but new posts won’t be deleted. That’s what the creators want – it’s a kind of game they to see how much traction their silly posts get across the application.

I can try to answer questions about how opt-outs and privacy policies really work, if you have questions. I’m not a legal expert but I am currently the IT Product Owner for a website with millions of users and am currently working on a data privacy project. I know how our preferences work. At my previous job I worked on web projects. I can speak to a lot of the things in these posts.

The only way to opt out of the anything in the user agreement is to stop using the software or website.

If you want to stop getting targeted ads, there are ways to do it, but simply announcing it to your friends isn’t one of them. NEVER click on Accept All for cookies. Set your site-specific preferences. If you did previously go to the website and accepted marketing/advertising cookies, clear your cookies and cache and reject them when asked. Use ad blocking software. Set up your privacy preferences on the websites you use. Configure your browser to reject 3rd party cookies.

If a website says you can’t use it without allowing their non-essential cookies then YOU are the product they are selling to make money. If you live in CT, CA, CO or any other state implementing strict web privacy laws, congrats, they can’t do that any more. You can tell them you won’t allow them to sell your data and if they don’t comply the AG would love to hear about that. Fines can be big, the bad publicity worse.

Read privacy policies and end user agreements BEFORE you agree to them. If you don’t agree, don’t use the site because your agreement is binding. If you change your mind later, delete your photos and your account.

Note: User agreements are broad to allow for changes without needing to update the agreement (which requires users to re-agree). FB has said they don’t use your photos, even though the agreement gives them the right. And they probably won’t, because honestly, most of us aren’t professionals. If you really want to stop that from happening, watermark your photos so they aren’t usable by them or anyone else. I’d be more worried about the people who make all their posts public. Anyone can steal one of your photos. It happens all the time.

FB would not be able to just start to charge people “next week” or any time soon without a whole lot of press and updated user agreements and notifications to users. I’ve seen some fake posts that say “they will just start charging you” and I am no consumer lawyer but I was on a debit card product team and just charging amounts someone’s card without their agreement or permission is fraud.

Despite the above, they have every right to charge, especially as state laws start to restrict their ability to sell your data to advertisers. Chrome is about to start blocking 3rd party cookies across the board, which means FB won’t know that I was on a Subaru website looking at electric cars. So they can’t give their advertisers that info for them to target me for other energy efficiency products. There’s no such thing as free lunch. They can charge, and in return you can decide to either pay or not pay. But if you decide to not pay, they can show you the door. Business is business.

The fact that Meta is a “public company” is a financial designation, meaning it answers to shareholders and anyone can become a shareholder. It isn’t referring to the general public, or even the Government. First Amendment rights don’t apply.

All I ask is that before you re-post anything that told you to copy and paste instead of sharing, think about why. New posts get more visibility than shared posts. Shared posts can be deleted en masse. Check snopes.com to make sure you’re not feeding the trolls who created the message. And if someone proves to you you’ve posted fake information, just remove it. It’s so much better than leaving it up on the off chance it might be true even though multiple sources have proven it’s not.

And as hard as this is to say, be careful of anything that says “I’ll bet none of my friends will repost this.” A lot of us won’t on principle (it’s like an old school chain letter, and I didn’t reply to those either) and I assume some folks may become hurt when their friends don’t play along. I’m sorry, it’s not about you or addiction or dementia or suicide prevention. It’s about not having their own posts go lower the algorithm. It doesn’t measure how your friends feel about YOU, it’s about not wanting to be a person who spams their friends and family with posts created with the intent to go viral. Please don’t hold it against us when we don’t copy and paste, and we’ll try not to hold it against you when you keep doing it. But I can’t guarantee people won’t mute you.

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