How did viral Facebook privacy hoax capitalize on privacy fears?

Something about the Facebook privacy hoax has gotten people to click "share."

First, the faux copyright legalese spread like wildfire across the social networking site. Many users recently found their news feeds awash with postings suggesting that the users who displayed them would get extra copyright and privacy protection.

Then came the predictable backlash, as the Internet rushed in to debunk this latest theory. Even still, some people kept posting the message and it continued to spread on Tuesday morning.

Facebook has issued a statement saying the text posts are a hoax: "Anyone who uses Facebook owns and controls the content and information they post, as stated in our terms. They control how that content and information is shared. That is our policy, and it always has been."

This meme is similar to a previous scheme years ago that suggested website owners place protective text on their pages, says the hoax-debunking site Snopes.com.

While many Facebook and Twitter posts snickered about the hubbub, concerns about online privacy linger.

"It may have been a hoax, but it did not hurt!" wrote one Facebook user.

There are questions, too. In a world of social media dominated by complex terms of use and sometimes-fuzzy privacy arrangements, could some Facebook users have taken solace in the possibility of having some bit of extra control over their data, even if it was a hoax?

Or, is this an issue of social media literacy? Perhaps more needs to be done to educate people about telling a hoax from something that is real.

We'd like to know what you think about the hoax. What does this say about our online world? Do you feel that your information is safe? What can be done to improve online privacy?


Comments

More Facebook Stories

Adorably-confused toddler meets twins (VIDEO) Adorably-confused toddler meets twins (VIDEO)

As adults, we are fascinated by twins, and as it turns out,  toddlers can be just as amused and awestruck!

'All About That Baste': Holderness family Thanksgiving video

The Holderness family, who brought us "#XMAS JAMMIES" is back with a Thanksgiving video.

GALLERY: Facebook Fans submit photos of fall foliage GALLERY: Facebook Fans submit photos of fall foliage

Facebook Fans submitted their best photos of this year's fall season. Take a look!

Facebook Fans choose their favorite brands of coffee Facebook Fans choose their favorite brands of coffee

Yesterday, we asked our Facebook fans to share their favorite brands of coffee. Here are the results.

Online dispute: Youngstown couple David & Lakeisha Cotton jailed after Facebook fight challenge Online dispute: Youngstown couple David & Lakeisha Cotton jailed after Facebook fight challenge

Police in northeast Ohio say a couple is jailed after responding to a fight challenge on Facebook.

Facebook expulsion: Ashley Habat Facebook expulsion: Ashley Habat's Facebook post gets 4-year-old son expelled from preschool

A mom says her 4-year-old son was expelled from his preschool over a message she posted on her Facebook page.

Businessman says his family gets death threats for hosting undocumented immigrant mother and kids Businessman says his family gets death threats for hosting undocumented immigrant mother and kids

"They put my kids and my wife's picture on their hate sites, not even the mafia does that."

Facebook 2Q profit more than doubles Facebook 2Q profit more than doubles

Facebook is on a roll. The world's largest online social network posted sharply higher earnings on Wednesday as revenue from mobile advertising continued to grow, and more people used it, more often.

Facebook Fans name best places to buy chicken around Northeast Ohio Facebook Fans name best places to buy chicken around Northeast Ohio

Facebook Fans had lots of suggestions for the best Northeast Ohio locations to grab a few pieces of chicken.

Police: Woman posts photo on Facebook of shoplifted maternity dress, which results in her arrest Police: Woman posts photo on Facebook of shoplifted maternity dress, which results in her arrest

A woman's Facebook pictures have landed her in jail.