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You have no privacy on Facebook, even if your post is set to "friends-only"

May 23, 2020 | 🚀 Fathership

Lawyers representing Facebook said in court: Users have no reasonable expectation of privacy.

The courtroom debate took place in June last year as Facebook tried to scuttle litigation from users upset that their personal data was shared without their knowledge with the consultancy Cambridge Analytica and later with advisers to Donald Trump’s campaign.

Orin Snyder, a lawyer representing Facebook, said that Facebook users charges of privacy invasion were invalid because the simple act of using Facebook, Snyder claimed, negated any user's expectation of privacy.

Does posting, even to a small group of friends, on social media mean that a user is forfeiting all expectation of privacy? Yes, Facebook argues:

"There is no privacy interest, because by sharing with a hundred friends on a social media platform, which is an affirmative social act to publish, to disclose, to share ostensibly private information with a hundred people, you have just, under centuries of common law, under the judgment of Congress, under the SCA, negated any reasonable expectation of privacy."

An outside party can’t violate what you yourself destroyed, Snyder seemed to suggest.

U.S. District Judge Vince Chhabria pushed back, suggesting that if a user had painstakingly tweaked her privacy settings so that only a tight-knit group could see her posts, it would be a privacy violation if “Facebook actually disseminated the photographs and the likes and the posts to hundreds of companies.” But Snyder didn’t budge, suggesting that sharing any information with even one human being negates an expectation of privacy:

"Once you go to friends, the gig is over because you’ve just gone — taken a hundred people and pronounced your personal likes and dislikes. In fact, the very act of liking something and showing your friends that you like something is a non-private act. It’s the whole premise of Facebook and social media, is to render not private your likes, your dislikes, your expressions. When I tag someone in a photo, it’s to tell people, not keep private, that I’m sitting on a park bench with John Smith. So it’s the opposite of private when you do that."

Facebook’s stance that if one truly wants to keep something private, they should keep it far from Facebook.

You can read the court transcripts here.

H/T: Sam Biddle, The Intercept