Over the last few days, I’ve seen the following status updates within my Facebook Community:

ATTENTION: Friday, Facebook will become owner of the publishing rights of ALL your private photos. You need to make a simple change: go to ‘account’, ‘account settings’, ‘facebook adverts’ (tab along the top), ‘ads shown by third parties’, choose ‘NO ONE’ then SAVE. 1 minute job. And please share

Now, I’m pretty closed when it comes to my ‘permissions’ on Facebook.  Not only do I check my ‘sharing’ settings regularly, but those settings are generally set to ‘No One’ or ‘Friends’.  I also take the precaution to make sure that what I share on Facebook is only what I’m happy to make public domain.

When I saw this warning, I thought I’d check it out – after all, it’s not the first time Facebook would have ‘changed’ a privacy setting and asked us to confirm it…

What I found was this – when you go to Account -> Account Settings -> Facebook Adverts and view the ‘Ads by third parties’ – here’s what it says:

Facebook does not give third party applications or advert networks the right to use your name or picture in adverts. If we allow this in the future, the setting you choose will determine how your information is used.

You may see social context on third party sites, including in adverts, through Facebook social plugins. Although social plugins enable you to have a social experience on a third party site, Facebook does not share your information with the third party sites hosting the social plugins. Learn more about social plugins.

Sufficiently vague enough…. So I did some searching and found @HoaxSlayer’s comment on it:

Facebook has ALWAYS had publishing rights for ANYTHING you post on here and you do retain the copyright. There is a difference between the two.


As well as this – all the above steps will do is prevent your profile pic and possibly some of your information from your profile from being used in Facebook ads. None of your information that you have put on Facebook is given to third party advertisers.

What does it all mean?

That FAQ entry says:

Do I retain the copyright and other legal rights to material I upload to Facebook?

Yes, you retain the copyright to your content. When you upload your content, you grant us a license to use and display that content. For more information please visit our Statement of Rights and Responsibilities, which contain information about intellectual property, as well as your privileges and responsibilities as a Facebook user.

Basically, by uploading ANYTHING to facebook you give the rights to use that content however they want to…

The one clause in the Statement of Rights and Responsibilities that grabs me is:

For content that is covered by intellectual property rights, like photos and videos (“IP content”), you specifically give us the following permission, subject to your privacy and application settings: you grant us a non-exclusive, transferable, sub-licensable, royalty-free, worldwide license to use any IP content that you post on or in connection with Facebook (“IP License”). This IP License ends when you delete your IP content or your account unless your content has been shared with others, and they have not deleted it.

Essentially, if you upload something and someone else SHARES it with others – even if you delete it – the content will remain on Facebook.

What Should I Do?

First: check your facebook privacy settings and see who has access to your content.  Tighten that privacy as much as make sense.

Second: Don’t share anything that you don’t want to grant a ‘non-exclusive, transferable, sub-licensenable, royalty-free, worldwide license’ to use to….

Facebook is great for connecting – but be careful how much you share!



About the Author Charly Dwyer

Charly has more than 30 years experience in the IT industry ranging from hands-on technical, to high-level business management, Charly has installed and configured computing equipment and has managed business contracts in excess of $25 million dollars.

As a result, Charly identifies the best way to integrate solutions and technologies for the most cost effective way to achieve a businesses outcome.

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  1. Hi Charly – great article. I have seen that same status on Facebook over the past few days, and wanted to look in to it … but just ran out of time! So thanks so much for investigating it so thoroughly – and sharing your findings with us 🙂

    Cathy White
    i-Assist Corporate Solutions

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