You cannot declare Facebook usage rules by posting to your wall

Posting that you "declare your copyright" is as effective as yelling "I declare bankruptcy."

If you haven't checked Facebook at all over the last few days, I congratulate your ability to live in the moment. If you have browsed your Facebook feed, then you have seen more than one friend post what seems like a legal notice, starting with, "In response to the new Facebook guidelines, I hereby declare ..."

The rest of the post references the "Berner Convention" (actually the Berne Convention) and "UCC 1 1-308-308 1-103," and generally implies that the poster have kept themselves a few paces ahead of the marauding juggernaut that is Facebook's Privacy Monetization Machine. You get a mental picture of a lawyer pulling up a Facebook timeline on a screen, pointing to the November 2012 section with a laser pointer, and turning to face twelve jurors and two alternates on the far side of the courtroom.

"Ladies and gentlemen, it could not be more clear," Timothy Truevoice would say. "Mrs. Smith notified Facebook and everybody her account was connected to that, in no uncertain terms, her posts were her own. Facebook had no right to provide them to the Hostess company, for use in promoting their Throwback Twinkies, made with real sugar."

Facebook spells out what it does with your data, once you've signed up for the service. It's not quite the best user agreement I've seen, but it does make it fairly clear that, once you've signed up for Facebook, you still have the copyright to your posts, but Facebook has the right to use that material elsewhere. And no post to your wall can retroactively change terms you agreed to when you signed up for Facebook (and every time it prompted you with an update after that).

For a more precise measurement of just how far from effective the act of posting about your new understanding of Facebook's terms of service can be, I refer you to these point-by-point take-downs:

If you want the shortest possible take on why posting something to Facebook, on Facebook, will not free you from any future perceived misuse of your thought and images, see Michael Scott's declaration of bankruptcy on The Office. That is roughly as effective as a unilateral contract revision via Wall Post.

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