The Channel 13 Facebook Hoax. Your Data Is Never Private

So many of you have probably seen long Facebook statuses talking about 'Channel 13,' proclaiming that Facebook cannot use any of their profile data. I've seen a lot of our readers jump on this train, so it's time to set the record straight. This is a hoax, which has been around for more than a couple of years. And the fact you're posting it is ironically making your online information more public.

Let's start with a harsh truth. Anything you publish onto the internet is public in some way shape or form, no matter what privacy measures you put in place. You agreed to the many terms & conditions of using Facebook, which essentially makes you a product of which they can sell to other companies in the form of targeted advertising. True, the network is free to use, but it comes at a price of your personal info including age, gender, location, friends and interests.

The good news is the accusations made by the post copy is entirely false, and it shows the original author of this has no idea about media law. So let me, someone who was almost sued by the writer of Power Rangers, take a crack at it.

First, to the actual legal copy: "I do not give Facebook or any entities... 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 is private and confidential information. The violation of privacy can be punished by law." This is nothing but bollocks, without a less sensitive way of wording it. Besides the writer having a bit of confusion with comma usage (we're all guilty of it), you cannot waive the rights and agreements you expressly gave consent to at the time of starting up your Facebook page. To put another nail in the coffin for this, the law UCC 1-308-11 has nothing to do with internet privacy: it talks about commercial law, which is nothing to do with Facebook data.

"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 If you do not publish this statement at least once it will be tactically allowing the use of your photos, as well as information contained in the profile status updates." Looks like somebody knows social media marketing, as a person's original status will reach more people than something that is shared. But recognition aside, let's dive into the wording here. True, Facebook is a publicly traded company, but this doesn't grant them a legal privilege to your data. Once again you signed those deeds away in their T&Cs, but you can easily make your profile private and impenetrable to Facebook by altering the privacy settings.

But let's be honest here. If you're posting onto a social network, your information is public, regardless of whether you post stuff like this status or change the privacy settings. The fact it has a presence on the internet means it can be accessed, meaning others can do so with the right tools.

Simply put, stop sharing this, as it's beginning to clog up my news feed, and just be careful about what you post.