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Facebook, take note!

Jonny Evans | Jan. 23, 2015
Those copyright notices that people are posting on their Facebook pages don’t mean a thing legally, but that doesn’t mean Facebook, or the media, should ignore them

These people miss the point.

The arguments that "you don't need to use" the service or, worse, that "you should know your rights before you begin using the service" are of little consequence when user agreements remain incomprehensible.

Not only this, but people's concerns change -- there is a real difference in people's expectation, understanding and demands of online privacy since the Snowden revelations, for example. Has Facebook given its users a chance to redefine the rights they have granted?

The argument that people can stop using the service is unrealistic; we're talking about an addictive social network that people have become reliant on. And what people love is not the network itself, but rather the posts their friends make.

By slamming users for making posts of this kind, people who claim to report events for a living are missing a trick. They should be noting that the Facebook community wants to take the power back. This is a digital equivalent of the "Hands up, don't shoot" protestors fighting to seize back the right not to be shot simply because of skin tone.

Surely even in the digital world people have a right to speak out against abuse of power? In Charles Dickens' novel Oliver Twist, was young Oliver at fault for asking for more?

Of course not.

Those making such arguments are simply mouthing a mantra that protects abuse of power wherever it takes place, criminalizing the victims while ignoring the need.

There is a need to articulate the significance of these posts, which show that millions of users want a few things from Facebook, including privacy and control of the content they create, despite the user agreements already in place.

Critics of those demanding such autonomy are the digital equivalent of quislings who collaborate with enemy occupation. Why should Facebook's users not be empowered to demand a new contract?

Facebook's privacy people will argue that Facebook has tried to make its privacy controls more transparent, and they'd be right, except that these transparent privacy controls don't actually offer a great deal of privacy protection.

That millions of users are lobbying for better control of content and data that has been generated by them is a story in itself; millions of posts by millions of people should be recognized, not ignored.

The legal significance of these posts is inconsequential to the main story, which is that millions of Facebook users are demanding the right to control their own content. Why should the service be allowed to ignore the will of its consumers without criticism?

Leonardo da Vinci once said, "Nothing strengthens authority so much as silence."

Keep spreading the demand, and there's a chance you might achieve it. Stay silent and things will never change.

The media silence in its coverage of this latest Facebook privacy storm is a story in itself.


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