Are your Facebook friends posting some strange legalese about privacy guidelines? Yeah, that’s a bunch of garbage.

A viral post claims that Facebook recently updated its terms of service to take ownership of all of your personal data; even if you delete your account. By copying and pasting that legal rubbish into a status update, you supposedly exempt yourself from Facebook’s new guidelines.

Except that’s not the case. You can’t protect yourself from a site’s terms of service by claiming to be exempt — you agree to the terms by signing up for an account.

But, more importantly, Facebook doesn’t claim to own your data. You own it. The whole thing is a big hoax.

According to Internet rumor repository Snopes.com, the Facebook hoax has been around since 2012.

In fact, Facebook commented on the hoax in a 2012 post: “There is a rumor circulating that Facebook is making a change related to ownership of users’ information or the content they post to the site. This is false. Anyone who uses Facebook owns and controls the content and information they post, as stated in our terms.”

Not satisfied?

Here’s language from Facebook’s actual terms of service: “You own all of the content and information you post on Facebook, and you can control how it is shared through your privacy and application settings.” That should settle things for you.

One of the reasons the hoax has stayed active for so long is that it gets recirculated through likes, appearing in people’s newsfeeds. It also strikes a chord with people who feel like they have lost control of their privacy online.

In case you haven’t yet come across it, here’s the Facebook post that has been making the rounds:

Safe than sorry is right. Channel 13 News was just talking about this change in Facebook’s privacy policy. Better safe than sorry. As of October 15, 2013 at 10:30 pm Eastern standard time, I do not give Facebook or any entities associated with Facebook permission to use my pictures, information, or posts, both past and future. By 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 If you do not publish a statement at least once it will be tactically allowing the use of your photos, as well as the information contained in the profile status updates.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. You MUST copy and Paste. thanx for the post

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