Tuesday, February 17, 2009

UPDATE!! Facebook Wants Your Soooouull.... And Your Content!

While you were sleeping dreaming those dreams of you, Scarlett Johansson, Ed McMahon and a tub of Purell; Facebook was changing their terms of service.  You know, the ones that you didn't read when you signed up.  In particular what was changed was the one sentence about what happens to your content should you decide to delete your profile.  Here is the sentence that is now gone: 
You may remove your User Content from the Site at any time. If you choose to remove your User Content, the license granted above will automatically expire, however you acknowledge that the Company may retain archived copies of your User Content.

Guess what?  Not anymore.  Here is what it now reads:
The following sections will survive any termination of your use of the Facebook Service: Prohibited Conduct, User Content, Your Privacy Practices, Gift Credits, Ownership; Proprietary Rights, Licenses, Submissions, User Disputes; Complaints, Indemnity, General Disclaimers, Limitation on Liability, Termination and Changes to the Facebook Service, Arbitration, Governing Law; Venue and Jurisdiction and Other.

What this means is that now if you delete your profile, they still own all of your content and can use however they want.  Your druken pictures?  Theirs.  Your video of your kids that only you find adorable?  Theirs.  That short story you posted in your notes that you just optioned to a major studio?  Sorry, it's theirs.  Yup.  

As would be expected, web heads have gone nuts since they discovered this and have shouted "BOYCOTT," from their basements.  So in response, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg posted this on his blog"People want full ownership and control of their information so they can turn off access to it at any time. At the same time, people also want to be able to bring the information others have shared with them—like email addresses, phone numbers, photos and so on—to other services and grant those services access to those people's information. These two positions are at odds with each other. There is no system today that enables me to share my email address with you and then simultaneously lets me control who you share it with and also lets you control what services you share it with."  

The way around this is to be sure to make your settings private.  If you have expressed that only your immediate friends have access to your content, then they cannot ever do anything with it.  But if you haven't done that, don't be surprised to see one of your pictures pop up in an ad for, or just on, Facebook with a sub-title that says, "The face of Syphalis." 

Take the jump over to G4TV to read more about it.

UPDATE:  As of this evening, Facebook has now posted this message on their site:  Over the past few days, we have received a lot of feedback about the new terms we posted two weeks ago. Because of this response, we have decided to return to our previous Terms of Use while we resolve the issues that people have raised.

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