Lawyer falls for latest Facebook ‘legal contract’ privacy hoax

By on

If in doubt, cite the “Rome Statute”


A lawyer has reportedly fallen for a hoax privacy warning which claims that Facebook can use your photos without permission for marketing purposes.

The hoax — versions of which have circulated Facebook for a number of years — has made an unexplained re-appearance this week, with thousands of users posting the useless status in the belief that they are protecting their content from being ruthlessly exploited by Mark Zuckerberg and pals.

Among the mumbo jumbo contained in the message is a reference to some random law:

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).

A screenshot (pictured below) of the lawyer’s update was uploaded to image sharing site Imgur yesterday. It has received over 13,400 views in less than a day. Fortunately for our social media-unsavvy legal-eagle, the uploader was kind enough to remove their name.


Amusingly, a friend who pointed out that it was all just a hoax received a bizarre justification for the update, with the lawyer explaining:

…some of my attorney friends smarter than me suggested it.

The position surrounding Facebook users’ intellectual property rights isn’t straightfoward — which probably explains why these hoaxes keep appearing. But if our unnamed lawyer had taken a quick glance at Facebook’s terms and conditions, instead of relying on their “smarter” attorney friends, they would have seen that the social media giant does not own the copyright to users’ posts.

However, subject to individual privacy settings, Facebook can do pretty much what it likes with users’ photos under what it terms an “IP License” — and “UCC 1-308- 1 1 308-103 and the Rome Statute” can’t do anything about that.


International Lawyer

I didn’t realise that Facebook photos came within the ICC’s jurisdiction in the Rome Statute, although will happily suggest that their misuse be added to Article 7 ‘Crimes Against Humanity’, and a new Elements of Crimes drafted to also include commenting on linkedin photos, dressing up like Professor Flitwick, and having children while working at a law firm.



Erm, I think the hoax here is not that Facebook can do whatever it likes with your photos (that’s not a hoax, it can do anything it likes with your photos), but that you can do anything about this with a few lines of legalese.



Could you form a contract via facebook post, with a response to the post as a countersignature?



I literally cannot think of a reason why not. ‘Intent to create legal relations’ might be a sticking point, but there’s no obvious reason why an email can create a contract but a facebook post can’t.


Tony Tee

You are too kind. This isn’t a hoax. It’s just plain common or garden ignorance.

A hoax is a deliberately fabricated falsehood made to masquerade as truth. Ignorance is your average Facebook user.


Kuzka's Mother

I’ve saved my inevitable ‘this has no legal standing, T&Cs are just that, whoever shares this is an idiot’ response and just copy/paste it whenever it rears up again.


Comments are closed.