Does Sharing Facebook Privacy Disclaimer Posts Have Any Legal Effect?
Many users either write or share posts declaring “I do not give Facebook permission to share anything of mine that I put on their site, pictures, current or past posts, etc.” Does this have any binding legal effect? Attorney Ben Barry of Martin, Harding and Mazzotti is on the radio with Joe Vega of WIZN 106.7 to discuss this issue. Please give it a listen or read the transcript below.
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Joe: 106.7 WIZN and its Golden Earring in “Twilight Zone.” Heard Lynyrd Skynyrd, “Gimme Three Steps” before that. Joe Vega here with you on your Wednesday “Rocking Ride Home,” and I got Ben Barry on the phone right now from Martin Harding & Mazzotti. Hello, Ben.
Ben: Hello, Joe. How are you?
Joe: I’m doing well, I’m doing well. So I got a question for you and I’ve seen this post just recently, and it was something you used to see all the time. And it’s a Facebook post that a lot of people do. And they do it because, I guess, to protect them from Facebook, and I’m not gonna read you the entire post because, you know, we don’t want to put the listeners to sleep, but it goes something along the lines of, you know, “I do not give Facebook or any entities associated with Facebook permission to use my pictures, information, messages or posts blah, blah, blah.” Then the bottom part it’s in capitals. Real quick, does capital letters make a difference in legal terms?
Joe: Are you sure because, I mean, that’s the person’s way of saying I really mean this?
Ben: Doesn’t matter legally.
Joe: Okay. So in capitals, it says, “I do not give Facebook permission to share anything of mine that I put on their site, pictures, current or past posts, blah blah blah blah blah.” Here’s my question for you, will this make any difference whatsoever to what Facebook does?
Ben: No, it won’t. That’s the shortest answer I can provide. Let me ask you this, let me ask you something different, Joe.
Joe: Right, sure.
Ben: If you’re selling your vehicle, and I show up and I say, “Hey, Joe, I’m gonna give you 500 bucks for that vehicle.” You say, “Great,” and you sign the title, you hand the title to me, and you hand the keys to me. And I say, “By the way, that agreement, I’m changing the terms of that agreement. I’m not gonna give you the 500 bucks, I’ll give you 200,” you’d be upset. And every social…
Joe: Yeah. I wouldn’t stand for that.
Ben: Right. Every social media platform has terms and conditions that their users agree to prior to gaining access to the site, establishing an account, and then doing the things that people do on social media, share a picture, share artwork, you know, conversate, etc. You can’t use the website and get the benefits of the website without agreeing to the terms and conditions. And once you’re on that website, you can’t just turn around and say, “By the way, those terms and conditions I agreed to before no longer apply to me because of this reason or that reason.” It’s simply an abrogation of the terms and conditions. So no, I don’t think that they have any binding legal effect. It might make people feel better that they’re saying to Facebook, “I disagree with your policies, and therefore I want to opt out of certain things that you do, but yet also receive the benefits of your website. So I want to benefit from some of the terms and conditions of the agreements except for the ones I don’t like,” and that is not how… that’s not how relationships are formed, and so I don’t think that those notices have any legal effect. It might deter some activity, but I doubt it.
Joe: I guess I kind of knew that but, you know what, I thought it’d be something fun to talk about. So, people, putting that Facebook disclaimer onto your page will do absolutely nothing for you. So there you go, Ben Barry from Martin, Harding and Mazzotti. Thank you, Ben.
Ben: Thank you, Joe. Talk to you soon.
Joe: Remember, you can call Ben at anytime at 1800law1010 or go online to 1800law1010.com. Stay tuned, more classic rock coming up. The Doors, Tom Petty, and Queen next.