(Editor’s Note: The story was first published on 24 November 2021 and is being republished from The Quint’s archives in the light of another version of the claim going viral on social media.)
A screenshot and text explicitly denying Facebook and the Meta group of companies the right to use and share user content is being shared by social media users, where they invoke their 'Reservation of Rights' under sections of the Uniform Commercial Code while doing so.
The claim is being shared urging others to post the same message on their timelines before the "deadline", which is "today", in order to prohibit Meta from distributing their content without the users' "explicit written permission".
However, we found that the claim made in the viral message is a hoax and that different versions of the same post have been going around since 2012.
As per Facebook's Terms of Service, people own the intellectual property rights to their content and Facebook can only share and distribute this content in accordance with the user's individual privacy settings.
Social media users are sharing the following text, which is meant to deny Facebook and Meta permission from using their content:
"Under UCC Law Sections 1-207, 1-308, I am imposing my Reservation of Rights.
I DO NOT ALLOW Facebook/Meta or any other Facebook/Meta related person or entity to use my photos, information, or messages, both in the past and in the future.
I'm not giving Facebook/Meta permission to share my information posted on their website. PHOTOS, CURRENT or PAST, PUBLICATION, PHONE NUMBER OR POST... Absolutely nothing can be used in any form without my explicit written permission (sic)."
WHAT WE FOUND OUT
While some older iterations invoked the Rome Statute and Berne Convention along with the UCC to prevent Facebook from using their content, the current version speaks about prohibiting Facebook as well as Meta from doing so.
To verify the claim in the post, we looked at Facebook's Terms of Service. Here, we saw that according to Facebook's policies, users own the intellectual property rights to any content they create and/or share on Facebook.
Additionally, it specifies that users grant the company a "non-exclusive, transferable, sub-licensable, royalty-free and worldwide licence" to use, distribute, publicly perform or display user content consistent with the user's privacy and application settings.
Next, we looked at Facebook's Data Policy under the Meta umbrella.
On Facebook's website, we found a blog about Meta's announcement, which noted that the company's structure would not change under Meta, which it called a 'social technology company'. It added that the announcement would not change how the company uses or shares data.
Clearly, a hoax that has been going around for nearly a decade was revived and shared across social media, wherein users made posts to prohibit Facebook from using their text, image, video or audio posts.
The Quint reached out to Facebook for their input and will update the story when the company responds.