Wednesday, February 18, 2009

What's all this about Facebook being forever?

Thank heavens for Twitter for without it I might miss a lot of things (haiku via a tweet is the best!). For example, I had no inkling of the recent uproar caused by Facebook's change in its membership policy. Heck, I didn't even know Facebook changed its policy! But apparently the company has and the new policy basically states they have a right to whatever you post, upload, write, do on Facebook indefinitely even if you deactivate the account. You read that right, indefinitely. (Sometimes it's not a wonderful web wednesday, is it?)

In's recent article "Facebook Membership May Be Forever," they highlight the disturbing part of the new policy:

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."

And yes, you read that right too. Apparently Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg posted his defense of the change on his blog earlier this week and while it makes sense...I still makes many Facebook users a tad uneasy. The article goes on to talk more about what the new terms mean and a bit more about Zuckerberg's defense.

Another really great article is InternetNews' "Facebook Must Rethink TOS Stance" in which it brings in a few experts to discuss the issues related to the change in policy.
"As I read it, the TOS gives them the right to do whatever they want to with user's content," social media consultant Paul Gillin told

"This is like Google saying, 'Anything you post to Blogger belongs to us'. If Google or Wordpress did that, there'd be a massive revolt," said Gillin, who writes the weekly Paul Gillin's Social Media Report newsletter. "Facebook has got to change this."

Momlogic had something to say as well in its post "Does Facebook Own You...and Your Kids?" Sometimes the comments are even more interesting than the post itself! It will be interesting to see how this all plays out. Never underestimate the power of Facebook users, Twitterers and bloggers!

What are your thoughts on Facebook's new policy? Did you know about it? Will you pull your remove your account? Or do you even care? --Emily

Photo by Carlo Nicora, shared via Flickr.


Apparently Zuckerberg has been made well aware of the dislike for his new membership policy. When I logged on to Facebook this morning this was at the top of the page:
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. For more information, visit the Facebook Blog.

If you want to share your thoughts on what should be in the new terms, check out our group Facebook Bill of Rights and Responsibilities.
Someone's listening somewhere. It will be interesting to see how the new new policy will read. Let's hope they do a better job the second time around!

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