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Posting a notice will not stop Facebook from using your photos

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A new version of an old message advises Facebook users to “copy a notice to their page to stop Facebook from using their photos.” None of the information is true.

WASHINGTON D.C., DC — The House of Representatives voted to force Chinese company ByteDance to sell TikTok or cease operations in the United States, but that is not the only social media platform generating security and privacy concerns Wednesday.

A WUSA9 viewer named Shanthi wrote to us to ask about the privacy of their Facebook photos.

Shanti referenced a post that warned Facebook will change its rules, allowing the company to access and use your photos. According to the post, the only way to prevent this is to copy and paste a notice to your own page preventing the company from using your photos, posts, messages, or information.

QUESTION

Is Facebook changing its policies to give it more access to users’ photos, and can users prevent Facebook from using their photos by posting a statement to their pages?

SOURCES

Facebook’s terms of service

ANSWER

This is false.

Facebook is not changing its policies. Posting a statement on your page will not affect how Facebook uses your photos and other data.

WHAT WE FOUND

Facebook’s terms of service says users own all the intellectual property rights to anything they post on Facebook, such as photos, videos, music, poetry, etc. This applies to Instagram and all other platforms owned by Meta, the parent company of Facebook.

But when users post a photo or other content, they give Facebook permission to use, share, and modify that content. “This means, for example,” the terms of service state, “that if you share a photo on Facebook, you give us permission to store, copy, and share it with others (again, consistent with your settings).”

The current terms of service were last modified in 2022. A version updated in 2013, as seen through the Internet Archive’s Wayback Machine, contained the same policy.

A Meta spokesperson told WUSA9 that nothing will change tomorrow regarding the ownership of users’ photos, and said posts like the one in question have been around for years. Facebook even wrote a notice denying the claim back in 2012.

If you type the words of the new claim into Facebook’s search bar, you can find several versions of the post written in 2023 and some written in 2022. That means hundreds of tomorrows have passed without the policy change promised by each of those posts.

Nothing in Facebook’s terms of service says a user can change the rules by posting a statement to their page.

If Facebook tried to violate its own terms of service by using or sharing a user’s photos in a way not prescribed by the terms, it could be charged under U.S. or international consumer protection laws. Twitter settled a complaint brought by the Federal Trade Commission in 2022 for $150 million over deceptive data collection practices.




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Posting a notice will not stop Facebook from using your photos

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