Myths about Facebook appear, maybe most often, in your Facebook news feed. You know what I'm talking about: "Facebook is going to sell your photos!" "You can check out whenever you like, but you can never leave!" "The sky is falling!"
Mihir Patkar recently published a list of debunked Facebook myths on Make Use Of. And it is super helpful.
Many of the stories going around about Facebook are completely wrong. And we're going to let you know why.
Myth #1: People Can See Who Viewed Their Profile
I can see why this might be scary. Can your high school boyfriend see that you've checked his profile everyday this week? It would be embarrassing if he could. Also, you can see who checked your profile on LinkedIn.
But no can see who checked their Facebook profile. Facebook itself has put out a disclaimer. "No, Facebook doesn't let people track who views their profile. Third-party apps also can't provide this functionality."
"This is one of those legends that gets spread around all the time, especially by several apps who claim to let you find out your 'secret admirers.' We looked at this in detail and found that you can't see who viewed your Facebook profile, no matter what," writes Patkar.
If you see an app that claims to be able to allow you to see who has looked at your profile or pictures, report them to Facebook. Facebook wants to know.
Myth #2: Facebook Messages From My Friends Are Safe to Click
Ever get a weird Facebook message from a friend that includes a link? Don't press that link! It could be malware.
"Facebook malware and viruses are common, so you need to exercise the same precautions here as you would elsewhere on the Internet," writes Patkar.
Myth #3: Facebook is Going to Charge You Money Very Soon
"Every few months, a post starts floating around on Facebook that the social network is soon going to stop being free and make you pay for usage," writes Patkar.
Facebook put out a statement that says, "While there may be water on Mars, don't believe everything you read on the Internet today. Facebook is free and it always will be."
Why won't Facebook be charging a usage fee anytime soon? "And the price of free is selling data to advertisers, as far as Facebook is concerned," writes Patkar.
Myth #4: Facebook Owns My Photos and Sells Them for Ads
There are two parts of this hoax. The first is that Facebook is digging through your photos and selling them to advertisers. That isn't happening.
"The second part is where the legalese comes in," writes Patkar. "Facebook's terms and conditions state clearly that while you own the copyright, the company is free to use things you post on the social network for its own advertising. So if you see a Facebook ad on a billboard in Times Square and your profile flashes on it with something you wrote, then Facebook does not need to pay you anything, it is well within its rights."
Also, if you liked a certain page, your friends might see a photo of you as a supporter of the page when that page advertises on Facebook.
Myth #5: Copy-Pasting a Legal Notice Changes Things
Ever seen one of these?
As of October 15, I do not give Facebook or any entities associated with Facebook permission to use my pictures, information, or posts, both past and future. By this statement, I give notice to Facebook it is strictly forbidden to disclose, copy, distribute, or take any other action against me.
These messages don't do anything for you because "when you signed up for Facebook, there were clear terms and conditions you agreed to, and posting something to your wall doesn't change that, as several lawyers have noted over the years," according to Patkar.
Myth #6: It's Easy to Quit Facebook OR It Is Impossible to Quit Facebook
It is difficult to delete your account. But it is not impossible. Facebook has an entire section on deactivating and deleting accounts.
When you ask Facebook to delete your account, it doesn't happen immediately, according to Patkar. "It's a wait of at least two weeks, and Facebook says that deleting every single instance of you from its social network might take months."
You will have to manually disconnect any app you have connected to Facebook, uninstall the Facebook app, clear out your browser history, and a few other steps to close your Facebook account.
"And if you accidentally log in during that two-week period, you get to start again," says Patkar.
Myth #7: If I Don't Use Facebook, It Doesn't Know Anything About Me
Even if you don't use Facebook, the social network likely has information about you. It's called a "shadow profile."
People you know who use Facebook give Facebook access to their contacts and personal information. So if they have your info in their contacts, Facebook can store it.
"Here's what happens: Now let's say a friend has you, your phone number, and your email address in their contact book. Facebook will also store that. Let's say your boss has stored your name with your phone number and home address. Facebook gets that too and matches it to the first information. And without you ever knowing it, Facebook makes a 'shadow profile' for you, which contains your name, your phone number, your address, and your email-even though you never gave it any of that information," writes Patkar.
Myth #8: Facebook Requires ID Proof
Facebook want to be a community of real people, not fake names. Some scammers who want to steal identities take advantage of this and use phishing messages like, "Facebook requires you to scan and send a valid photo ID to prove your identity. This is for the safety and security of all users. If you don't, Facebook will have to delete your account."
If you get a message like this ignore it, or report it.
According to Patkar, there are only two instances where Facebook will actually require ID proof from you:
If someone reports your account as fake, then Facebook will suspend your account and ask you to provide ID proof.
So if you successfully logging into Facebook and someone claimed to be Facebook asks for ID: DON'T DO IT!
Or "if you are famous enough and want people to know that you are the famous personality, not someone by the same name, then you need ID proof to get your account verified by Facebook," writes Patkar.