You’ve probably heard the news this week or seen the Facebook groups about the new terms of service (TOS). The social networking site outlined some new terms on February 4 that have irked thousands of users, questioning their privacy with the site, including the items they post.
The new terms state the licence to use uploaded content in promotional or advertising materials expired automatically if you remove your content. Basically as long as your content remains on the site… photos, notes, etc., Facebook owns it and can use it for whatever they wish.
A spokesman for Facebook, based in Palo Alto, Calif., tried to quell the concerns.
“We are not claiming and have never claimed ownership of material that users upload. The new terms were clarified to be more consistent with the behaviour of the site. That is, if you send a message to another user (or post to their wall, etc.), that content might not be removed by Facebook if you delete your account (but can be deleted by your friend),” Barry Schnitt said in a statement.
If Facebook didn’t have enough problems with this latest fiasco…
Separately, Facebook is the subject of an ongoing investigation by Canada’s privacy commissioner. Jennifer Stoddart launched an investigation last year into whether the Facebook is breaking the law when it passes on sensitive personal information to advertisers and other profit-making companies without securing meaningful consent. (Canwest News Service)
I think everyone loves to single out Facebook because they’re the biggest, but if you look at several other smaller social networking sites, the terms are pretty much the same.
UPDATE: It looks as though Facebook has caved to public pressure and has reinstated their old terms. They are now asking for users’ input on crafting acceptable terms of service. Read the Facebook blog.
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