An old Facebook hoax is doing the rounds again, causing users of the social network to panic that all their private photos will be made public overnight.

Messages about protecting your copyright or privacy rights on Facebook by posting a particular legal notice to your Timeline have been periodically circulating for many years.

The text of the messages varies, but is something along the lines of this:

"Don’t forget tomorrow starts the new Facebook rule where they can use your photos. Don't forget Deadline today!!! It can be used in court cases in litigation against you. Everything you've ever posted becomes public from today Even messages that have been deleted or the photos not allowed. It costs nothing for a simple copy and paste, better safe than sorry. Channel 13 News talked about the change in Facebook's privacy policy. I do not give Facebook or any entities associated with Facebook permission to use my pictures, information, messages or posts, both past and future. With 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 and/or its contents. The content of this profile is private and confidential information. The violation of privacy can be punished by law (UCC 1-308- 1 1 308-103 and the 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 If you do not publish a statement at least once it will be tacitly allowing the use of your photos, as well as the information contained in the profile status updates. FACEBOOK DOES NOT HAVE MY PERMISSION TO SHARE PHOTOS OR MESSAGES."

At the risk of stating the obvious - it's not true.

Whilst Facebook does have the right to distribute and share any of your content (it's in the T&Cs) it doesn't own the copyright.

And even if you wanted to take that power away from Facebook, you can't do it by just writing it on your wall. You'd need to actively disagree with Facebook's terms and conditions which means, basically, not using the service.

Facebook

Facebook hasn't responded to this latest hoax but it has clarified in the past that it can share and distribute something you post.

"We have noticed some statements that suggest otherwise and we wanted to take a moment to remind you of the facts," Facebook spokesperson Andrew Noyes said  the last time one of these hoaxes was doing the rounds .

"When you post things like photos to Facebook, we do not own them.

"Under  our terms  , you grant Facebook permission to use, distribute, and share the things you post, subject to the terms and applicable privacy settings."

Facebook offers each user the options to tailor their level of privacy and these can be found in your profile options.

But if you do see a message like the one above appear on your news feed, do your friends a favour and don't repost it.