Guys, You *Do Not* Need to Post a Message on Your Facebook Page to Keep It Free

This whole Facebook-charging-money thing is a hoax.

You've probably been seeing lots of your Facebook friends post long-winded statuses about the site starting to charge money. Here's how the posts often look:

"Now it's official! It has been published in the media. Facebook has just released the entry price: $5.99 to keep the subscription of your status to be set to 'private.' If you paste this message on your page, it will be offered free (paste not share) if not tomorrow, all your posts can become public. Even the messages that have been deleted or the photos not allowed. After all, it does not cost anything for a simple copy and paste."

And here's another going around, about keeping your posts private. They come in various forms, but all have lots of legalese:

"In response to the new Facebook guidelines, I hereby declare that my copyright is attached to all of my personal details, illustrations, comics, paintings, professional photos and videos, etc. (as a result of the Berner Convention). For commercial use of the above my written consent is needed at all times!"

But let's clear the air here: Both of these are hoaxes. (The "Berner Convention" isn't even a real thing!) According to CBS News, they've been spreading since as early as 2011. Facebook is not about to charge anything, you own what you post on Facebook, and copying and pasting into a status won't do anything for you. Some of the posts also reference "Channel 13 News" as a source, but several local news stations that go by Channel 13 have vehemently denied ever reporting these hoaxes.

The posts spread so far and wide, Facebook had to put a stop to them. "Facebook is free and it always will be," the company announced in a post. "And the thing about copying and pasting a legal notice is just a hoax."

According to Facebook's terms of service, you own everything you post on the site, and you can control who sees it through privacy settings, free of charge. Copyright law protects you already, whether or not you copy and paste a giant paragraph. A rule of thumb: If it resembles those old-fashioned chain letters you had to send to others before a spell was cast on you, it's not real. 

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Megan Friedman

Megan Friedman is the former managing editor of the Newsroom at Hearst. She's worked at NBC and Time, and is a graduate of Northwestern's Medill School of Journalism.