Posted by: tristar3research | February 18, 2009

Facebook Protest Should Spread

Consumerist.com has done an excellent job of pointing out that Facebook’s “Terms of Service” or TOS change is unacceptable. It’s really as absurd as the phone companies agreeing to spy on Americans for the “protection of our liberty.” Corporations must understand that preventing the internet from turning into a private data grab or changing it into another tired advertising venue is wrong and unacceptable and should be illegal. JMHO!

This post has generated a lot of responses, including from Facebook. Check them out here.

Facebook’s terms of service (TOS) used to say that when you closed an account on their network, any rights they claimed to the original content you uploaded would expire. Not anymore.

Now, anything you upload to Facebook can be used by Facebook in any way they deem fit, forever, no matter what you do later.* Want to close your account? Good for you, but Facebook still has the right to do whatever it wants with your old content. They can even sublicense it if they want.

You hereby grant Facebook an irrevocable, perpetual, non-exclusive, transferable, fully paid, worldwide license (with the right to sublicense) to (a) use, copy, publish, stream, store, retain, publicly perform or display, transmit, scan, reformat, modify, edit, frame, translate, excerpt, adapt, create derivative works and distribute (through multiple tiers), any User Content you (i) Post on or in connection with the Facebook Service or the promotion thereof subject only to your privacy settings or (ii) enable a user to Post, including by offering a Share Link on your website and (b) to use your name, likeness and image for any purpose, including commercial or advertising, each of (a) and (b) on or in connection with the Facebook Service or the promotion thereof.

That language is the same as in the old TOS, but there was an important couple of lines at the end of that section that have been removed:

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.

Furthermore, the “Termination” section near the end of the TOS states:

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.

Make sure you never upload anything you don’t feel comfortable giving away forever, because it’s Facebook’s now.

(Note that as several readers have pointed out, this seems to be subject to your privacy settings, so anything you’ve protected from full public view doesn’t seem to be usable in other ways regardless.)

Oh, you also agree to arbitration, naturally. Have fun with that.

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