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If you’ve been on Facebook recently, you might well have seen a status update warning users that their entire Facebook history will become public unless they copy and paste the message onto their own page.

According to the message, “Channel 13 News” (nope, us neither), have reported on the change to Facebook’s privacy policy, which will become effective from “tomorrow”.

The message goes on to declare that by posting it, the user is forbidding Facebook from making their profile public, and if Facebook ignores it, the message continues, it will be violating laws including the Rome Statute and the UCC 1-308.

The message says any user who wants to avoid their account being made public has to copy and paste it at least once to ensure their privacy.

Here is the full message:

Everything you've ever posted becomes public from tomorrow. Even messages that have been deleted or the photos not allowed. It costs nothing for a simple copy and paste, better safe than sorry. Channel 13 News talked about the change in Facebook's privacy policy.  I do not give Facebook or any entities associated with Facebook permission to use my pictures, information, messages or posts, both past and future.

With this statement, I give notice to Facebook it is strictly forbidden to disclose, copy, distribute, or take any other action against me based on this profile and/or its contents. The content of this profile is private and confidential information. The violation of privacy can be punished by law (UCC 1-308- 1 1 308-103 and the Rome Statute).

NOTE: Facebook is now a public entity. All members must post a note like this. If you prefer, you can copy and paste this version. If you do not publish a statement at least once it will be tactically allowing the use of your photos, as well as the information contained in the profile status updates. DO NOT SHARE. Copy and paste to be on the safe side.

It’s a hoax

If you’re worried about your privacy on Facebook, and thinking of sharing this message, don’t. It’s one of a number of viral Facebook hoaxes, presumably created entirely for the enjoyment of the hoaxer.

While not the first time the post has been widely shared, it appears to be snowballing once again – as a cursory Facebook search shows. It appears to have gone viral in India, and then in true information-age style, effortlessly spread to the UK.

Luckily, Facebook has somewhat more sophisticated security controls, checks and balances than requiring users to copy and paste important-sounding messages. The site has a data policy that governs how information is shared, and states that users select what information is public and private. Only users can turn their posts, photos and so on from private to public.

Besides, citing the Rome Statute (global laws from the International Criminal Court covering war crimes and genocide) and the UCC (the US Uniform Commercial Code), probably isn’t going to do much good.

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