Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Facebook Revolt

Wow. Lots of drama happening at Facebook. A few days ago, The Consumerist uncovered some major dirt on Facebook's new Terms of Service (TOS) agreement -- an agreement that all users must accept prior to setting up an account.

Apparently, the old TOS stated that Facebook would forfeit the rights to any original content uploaded to the site once a user closed his or her account. The new TOS ammended this to read:

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.

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.

So what exactly does that mean? It means that what you upload onto Facebook belongs to Facebook FOREVER. Scary right? (Particularly scary for an SNR like me who has a cancelled Facebook account filled with content floating in cyberspace)

Once the internet community and SNR converts picked up on this story, Facebook had a full-blown revolt on their hands and founder Mark Zuckerberg was forced to come out of his hole and respond:

"In reality, we wouldn't share your information in a way you wouldn't want. The trust you place in us as a safe place to share information is the most important part of what makes Facebook work. Our goal is to build great products and to communicate clearly to help people share more information in this trusted environment."

No good enough Mark. It's hard for me to trust a blood-sucking corporation such as yours. And so the revolt continued and today Facebook felt the pressure:

Terms of Use Update

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.

It seems like Facebook did the right thing this time but they need to remember in the future not to fuck with the hand that feeds them.

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