By KRISTEN GOLEMBIEWSKI, Opinions Editor

Lately, my Facebook newsfeed has been aflutter with talk about Facebook’s changing privacy settings. In particular, my “friends” are very upset that the government and police agencies may potentially use their photos or words against them. Some of them have even posted disclaimers stating that their “copyright is attached to all of my personal details, illustrations, graphics, comics, paintings, 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!”

Apparently, this little ditty forbids Facebook to “disclose, copy, distribute, disseminate, or take any other action against [the user] on the basis of this profile and/or its contents.”

Right.

Truth is, this disclaimer does absolutely nothing, just like previous disclaimers that crop up any time Facebook does anything to their settings. These disclaimers are usually followed by a declaration that the user is leaving Facebook and they are never, ever, ever getting back together. Which, by the way, Facebook hasn’t changed anything so… you can all come back now (as if you ever left).

It’s like they don’t realize that unless you change your privacy settings, everything you post on Facebook is public. And even if your profile is private, there’s still a chance that your “friends” will show your profile to people you’re not friends with. And sometimes, if you’ve posted content that’s damning, your “friends” might report you to police, using that status update or photo as evidence. There have been far too many fools who have posted pictures of stolen goods, only to be arrested a few days later.

And for that, they have no one to blame but themselves.

Because the greatest (and simultaneously, the worst) thing about Facebook and the internet is that whatever you post will remain there forever… and anyone can see it. And since Al Gore invented the internet, like, a really long time ago, you should all have learned this by now. I mean really, how many after-school specials about the danger of the internet is it going to take?

Of course, most people have nothing to worry about. I highly doubt that the police are interested in your Throwback Thursday pictures or your political rants (unless, of course, you make a death threat towards the President, in which case they are very interested and they will find and interrogate you, so keep those thoughts to yourself).

And if you are that concerned about who’s seeing what, well, you could just do us all a favor and get off the internet. I could certainly do without your constant stream of Farmville requests.