Facebook is reminding users not to believe everything they read on its own website, after scores of the social network’s users posted what they believed to be a legal notice about their privacy rights.
The rumor said users could protect their privacy on the platform by paying a $5.99 monthly subscription.
"While there may be water on Mars, don't believe everything you read on the Internet today," the company said Monday afternoon in a Facebook post. "Facebook is free and it always will be. And the thing about copying and pasting a legal notice is just a hoax. Stay safe out there Earthlings!"
Facebook is responding to what appears to be a circulating legal notice encouraging the site’s users to post statements forbidding the social network from using their photos, information, or posts on their Walls.
"If you do not publish a statement at least once, it will be tactically allowing the use of your photos, as well as the information contained in the profile status updates," the notice said.
The chain-letter hoax added that users can protect their privacy by purchasing a $5.99-a-month subscription to ensure their posts stay private.
When asked how Facebook is combating the hoax, director of consumer communications Jennifer Skyler directed PRWeek to the network’s Facebook response and a Snopes article that makes clear the legal notice is false.
The Snopes article stated that the claim is "erroneous, an expression of the mistaken belief the use of some simple legal talisman — knowing enough to ask the right question or post a pertinent disclaimer — will immunize one from some undesirable legal consequence."
The hoax is a variant of a copyright rumor that circulated in November 2012 after Facebook said it was considering taking away users’ rights to vote on proposed policy changes.
In that case, Facebook responded with a statement that noted the rumor was false.
"Anyone who uses Facebook owns and controls the content and information they post, as stated in our terms," the social network said at the time. "They control how that content and information is shared. That is our policy, and it always has been."