Use Humour To Point Out Stupidity On Facebook

Use Humour To Point Out Stupidity On Facebook
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If you’re on Facebook, you may have noticed a spate of copyright posts from users attempting to “reclaim” their personal details and photos. As we have noted in the past, this is unadulterated poppycock. Unfortunately, informing your friends of this fact is a good way to cause offence… unless you use humour.

For those who haven’t seen it, the latest false privacy notice doing the rounds on Facebook looks something like this:

As of January 3rd, 2015 at 11:43am Eastern standard time; I do NOT give Facebook or any entitles associated with Facebook permission to use my pictures, information, or post, both from the past, in the present, or in the future. By this statement I give notice to Facebook it is strictly forbidden to disclose, copy, distribute or take any other action against me based on this profile is private and confidential information. The violation of privacy can be punished by law (UCC 1-308-11 308-103 and Rome statute). NOTE: Facebook is now a public entity. All members must post a note like this. If you prefer, you can copy and paste this version if you do not publish the statement at least once it will be tactically allowing the use of your photos, as well as information contained in the profile status updates. DO NOT SHARE you MUST copy and paste this.

Even if you overlook the dodgy grammar, the above notice is entirely useless as a legal disclaimer. The terms and conditions of Facebook were agreed upon when you signed up to the service — posting a “copyright notice” changes nothing. Instead, it just makes you look gullible and ill-informed. This is probably why people get so touchy when others attempt to point out the error in their ways.

Lifehacker’s Commercial Editor Rae Johnston leaned this to her chagrin after posting this gentle reminder on her Facebook page.

As you can see, the post was neutral in tone and directed at no one in particular. Nevertheless, it managed to generate a negative response; complete with insults and a Facebook unfollowing.

“I had someone respond that I was wrong, and they knew this, because they had a lawyer find out for them,” Rae explained. “I politely suggested they get a second opinion as the advice the lawyer gave them was incorrect. I provided link to Snopes and quotes from the article to support my statement.

“They responded that they trusted this lawyer, who was a member of their family. Furthermore — their judgement of me as a nice person seemed to be a mistake, as I clearly wasn’t one and they wouldn’t be following me on social media anymore as a result.”

Evidently, people don’t like being told they are wrong, however politely.

Like Rae, I also wanted to inform my friends that their copyright posts were useless. However, I chose a slightly different approach. Instead of an FYI status update, I decided to indirectly poke fun at the practice (and myself in the process):

This allowed my friends to draw their own conclusions without feeling foolish or insulted. Nobody was telling them they were “wrong”, but the underlying message was still there to be inferred. Those who remained unsure felt comfortable asking questions because they weren’t already on the defensive.

The moral to the story is that there’s always a way to get a message across without insulting your audience: even if the “insult” was caused by their own ignorance. Sometimes you just have to think outside the box.


  • I had a friend post that any anti-vaxxers should remove themselves from his friend list. One popped up for a fight and got wall-of-texted to oblivion. I don’t think he was wrong in his actions and I enjoyed the conversation. Schadenfreude I guess.

    In your case, Rae lost a quick to anger irrational idiot of a friend and you entertained yours. I’d say you’re both winners.

  • Or just unfriend anyone who posts the copypasta. They’re probably not worth your time anyway, beyond a laugh.

  • Or try copying something – humour and confrontation:

    “In response to the new Facebook guidelines I hereby declare that no one gives a crap about the copyright attached to all of my personal details, illustrations, comics, paintings, professional photos and videos, etc. (as a result of a convention I can’t even spell properly). For commercial use of the above my written consent may or may not be needed at all times; however, no one will ever bother to get one.
    (Anyone reading this can copy this text and paste it on their Facebook Wall. This will do absolutely nothing, but will make you feel better. By using strange words in silly languages, I notify all of my friends that I have no idea on what I’m doing. The aforementioned actions also apply to my colleagues, prospective employers and anyone who’s willing to see me make a fool of myself. The content of this profile stopped being private at the moment I pressed the “Submit” button. No statute named after a city in Europe can or will make any difference about any of this.)
    Facebook is now an open capital entity, which is a fancy term of saying they’ll do anything they can to increase their profit. All members are recommended to publish a notice like this, because why not. If you do not publish a statement at least once, seven years of misfortune will follow and you can keep pressing F7 for as long as you wish, but the name of your crush won’t show up on your screen.
    Welcome to the internet. Have a cookie.”

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