There's a new message making its way around Facebook that people believe will legally protect their messages, photos, videos and other uploaded content.  Unfortunately, it's not true.  If you upload it to Facebook, those guys can do whatever they like with it.

You may have seen the chain-letter like message floating around Facebook today.  It looks like this:


Sounds legit, right?  After all, YOU uploaded all that stuff to Facebook, so by rights, it should be yours, shouldn't it?

Well, yeah, it should.  But it isn't.  And that's because in the fine print of the Facebook Terms of Service that we all had to agree to just to use Facebook, we signed away our rights to the things we uploaded. That means Facebook can use them, sell them or print them out and roll around naked in them if it wants to.

What does this mean?  Well, while Facebook is screaming that it won't use your stuff for evil, legally speaking it could it wanted to.  Posting that little notice won't protect your stuff, because you willingly signed your rights away -- BUT, whatever you delete off Facebook is protected. This goes for all your status updates, too.

So the rule of thumb here is, if you don't want Facebook to use it, don't upload it.  If you figure out the next great invention, don't post the instructions on how to build it on Facebook.  Only upload things you wouldn't care if Facebook used.  Or, if it's something that just really sticks in your craw, the safest way to protect yourself is to ... delete your entire Facebook account.

And sadly, one last thing to remember.  It's REALLY not a good idea to copy chain-letter like things on Facebook.  Viruses on Facebook aren't completely unheard of.  Copying things and posting them onto your wall could be a great way of asking for trouble.