Monday, February 16, 2009

'Ware the Facebook

If you use Facebook, please never post anything there which you care about owning (like writing samples, or especially nice photos.)

The Consumerist reports Facebook has changed their Terms of Service so that ALL RIGHTS to EVERYTHING you post there belongs to them FOREVER, even if you quit their site.

That means if you post a photo of your kid, Facebook can use or resell that photo, and there's nothing you can do about it. If you post a poem, they own all rights to it; you don't anymore. Et cetera.

Be careful of the big baddie.

Feb 18, 2009 Update: Due to widespread outrage, Facebook has back down and reverted to their original TOS. However, I would still refrain from trusting them to have your best interests in mind. I would also suggest you never post anything you care about owning (original writing, professional-quality photos) on the internet. It's hard to sell something that's available for free! :-)


Virginia Lady said...

Ouch! Thanks for the warning.

pjd said...

What I'm curious about is if someone posts something they don't have rights to. It's best not to post something you care about. I understand this includes "private" messages between two people as well as things like wall posts and status updates.

jjdebenedictis said...

Virginia Lady: Certainly! I know I didn't read the TOS carefully enough to have gleaned that from it...

PJD: I'm sure if it's stolen (i.e. posted without permission), they don't have any claim to it.

However, how does fair use play into this? If you post a snippet of someone else's work, with attribution, that's fair use--but Facebook's language seems to claim they have possession of that also.

Heather said...

Reading the TOS today, it still includes the part about if you remove your content, the license expires so not sure if this is an upcoming change or if it is just... well, not how the TOS reads right this moment.

jjdebenedictis said...

Heather: Yes, I posted an update! Facebook changed their TOS back to the previous version (which had that clause) after widespread outrage.

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