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

Facebook Fans report 100 coyote sightings in and around Northeast Ohio Facebook Fans report 100 coyote sightings in and around Northeast Ohio

We asked Facebook fans where they've spotted coyotes around their neighborhoods and we received nearly 150 comments.

Colorado mom Kira Hudson Colorado mom Kira Hudson's Facebook post showing 12-year-old daughter gets likes, cruel backlash

Nearly one million likes and public attacks is what a Colorado mom got when she tried to show her daughter how photos can go viral.

Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg calls US government ‘threat to the Internet’ Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg calls US government ‘threat to the Internet’

Mark Zuckerberg lashed out at the government for its surveillance practices in a rant on his Facebook page.

Mexican state bans weirder names, including Mexican state bans weirder names, including 'Facebook' and 'Rambo'

No more little Facebooks or Panties in the Mexican state of Sonora. Officials are banning those names for children.

Mom creates secret Facebook page to make birthday memorable for son with Asperger Mom creates secret Facebook page to make birthday memorable for son with Asperger's

Birthdays may come and go each year, but one mom is making sure her little boy will be sure to remember his 11th for a lifetime.

Skydiver injured in 12,000-foot jump; Facebook strangers rally to pay his bills Skydiver injured in 12,000-foot jump; Facebook strangers rally to pay his bills

Ben Cornick raised an estimated $50,000 on Facebook to offset his medical bills.

VIRAL VIDEO: Nathan the Hairless Dancing Dog VIRAL VIDEO: Nathan the Hairless Dancing Dog

A video posted on the Facebook page for the Bald is Beautiful Dog Rescue in South Carolina is getting a lot of attention.

Police say students were asked for topless photos, teacher arrested Police say students were asked for topless photos, teacher arrested

A Colorado teacher is facing charges after he was accused of asking students to send him topless photos of themselves.

PHOTO: Facebook post asks if toymakers should produce PHOTO: Facebook post asks if toymakers should produce 'plus-size' dolls

A simple Facebook question has created a social media frenzy over how body image should play a role in today's toy industry.

Akron Firestone H.S. music teacher Akron Firestone H.S. music teacher's vulgar Facebook rant lands him on paid administrative leave

A vulgar Facebook rant about trick-or-treaters landed an Akron music teacher on paid administrative leave Monday morning.