Thai women walk past a Facebook logo displayed at a shopping mall in Bangkok. (AFP / Pornchai Kittiwongsakul)

Facebook refutes hoax about new policy giving platform full access to user content

Copyright AFP 2017-2020. All rights reserved.

A post claiming a new Facebook policy will allow the platform unrestricted access to user content has been shared hundreds of times on Twitter and Facebook, in both Thai and English. The claim is false; Facebook said the claim is untrue, calling it a "scam".

The claim was shared on Facebook here on February 20, 2020.

Below is a screenshot of the misleading post: 

ภาพถ่ายหน้าจอของโพสต์เฟซบุ๊กที่เข้าใจผิด

The post’s Thai caption translates to English, in part, as: “Don’t forget tomorrow will be the first day that Facebook implements the new rule where they can use your photos freely. Your photos can be used in court cases in litigation against you. Everything you've ever posted becomes public from today, even messages that have been deleted or photos that are not allowed to use in public. It costs nothing for a simple copy and paste, better safe than sorry.”

Similar claims were published here, here, here and here on Facebook and here and here on Twitter.

The claim was also shared in English here, here, here and here on Twitter.

The claim is false.

“I can confirm that the viral post in question is not true,” Manaschuen ‘Tukata’ Kovapirat, Facebook’s communications manager for Thailand and Laos, told AFP via email on February 24, 2020.

“Protecting people's privacy is central to Facebook. People can view and adjust their privacy settings at any time and also use the Privacy Checkup tool to help them control who can see what they share, how their information is used and how to strengthen their account security.”

In a Facebook community help forum on January 28, 2019, the platform also said claims of such a new policy circulating were "likely a scam". 

“I'm sorry to hear that you experienced this and thank you for sharing your question with the Community,” Facebook said. “It sounds like the message you saw is likely a scam.”

Below is a screenshot of the post on the forum:

ถ่ายหน้าจอของหน้าเว็บฟอรั่มของเฟซบุ๊ก

Thai news website Brand Buffet also refuted the false claims in this report dated February 24, 2020.

The article’s headline translates to English as: “Facebook says viral post ‘Rules for using images or information’ is not true. Users can set Privacy settings in the system.”