The answer is no. And there’s no point in posting the message “I do not authorize” on your Facebook wall.

Did you today also post on your Facebook wall that you won’t permit Facebook to share pictures, messages and information deleted from your page? If so, you need to read this, you have been misled.

Loads of users posted the following message on Facebook today:

“It’s tomorrow … from tomorrow, all your posts, pictures or even messages that you have deleted will become public. All you have to do is post this on your wall if you don’t authorize Facebook to post your privacy (copy and post, don’t share).

‘I do not authorize Facebook to post anything without my permission.’

Copy and paste on your wall, don’t share it.”

To those who are more attuned to the conspiracy theory, here is the message: Facebook has no wicked plans for your messages or anything else deleted from your page.

“We have clear data and privacy policies that state that anything someone posts on Facebook is owned by them, and only they themselves can determine the levels of privacy of their publications on this platform,” confirmed a Facebook spokesperson to the blog #VirouViral.*

According to Carlos Affonso, director of the Institute of Technology and Society and law professor at the State University of Rio de Janeiro, in signing up to any social media, people accept the terms and conditions, and anything they post about privacy is not valid under the contract.

“The text posted on the wall saying, “I do not authorize,” has no effect on the contract. Under the terms and conditions [of joining Facebook], the user will find references where Facebook says that it’s up to the user to choose who they share their posts with. There is nothing in the terms and conditions that indicates Facebook has the right to re-post something that the user has decided to delete,” Affonso explained to #VirouViral.

But why do people create and spread these messages?

That is a good question–and in part, we are not able to answer it, since it’s hard to understand why someone would make up a lie and spread it around. BUT, we can explain part of the question: it shows how little people know about the terms and conditions and privacy policies of the social media they use.

“These messages come up all the time, and it alarms us, as it means people don’t read the terms and conditions and the privacy policies – and they urgently need to. People are keen to sign up to Facebook, so they download the app and simply click on 'I accept' without reading the terms and conditions. This leaves them more susceptible to believe in such messages”, says Affonso.

“The most curious thing is that more and more our lives are portrayed on social media and people don’t understand the rules of the environment that is so significant in their lives,” he adds.

Do you really want to protect yourself?

Facebook has mechanisms for people to be safe through tools such as the Security Center and the Privacy Basics page. On their Help Center it is possible to find out how to configure the private settings.

*Editor’s note: Although accurately translated, this quoted remark could not be independently verified.