New Facebook Terms of Service grant Facebook the ownership of your content. Forever.
Thank you FinePrint Agent Colleen Lindsay for alerting us all to Facebook's new, unsettling, terms of service.
For all of us who import our notes into Facebook this creates a major dilemma. Many like to read and comment within our Facebook community rather than on the Internet at-large. Now all of us on Facebook have some decisions to make not just about our notes but about everything we post on Facebook. Darn capitalism:(
The most disturbing sentence in the paragraph above is this one: "with the right to sublicense". Which essentially is Facebook telling their users that they can sell the subrights to any posted content on Facebook. This includes your personal information, any notes you import as RSS feeds and your personal photos. And theoretically, the way this is written, if you're an author who posts portions of your work-in-progress on your Facebook account, those portions belong to Facebook. Forever.
What are you going to do differently?
Modified to add: Facebook CEO Michael Zuckerberg just posted the following on Facebook. Since I don't know if you have to be a member to read it I will copy his post here in its entirety:
Our philosophy is that people own their information and control who they share it with. When a person shares information on Facebook, they first need to grant Facebook a license to use that information so that we can show it to the other people they've asked us to share it with. Without this license, we couldn't help people share that information.
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.
We still have work to do to communicate more clearly about these issues, and our terms are one example of this. Our philosophy that people own their information and control who they share it with has remained constant. A lot of the language in our terms is overly formal and protective of the rights we need to provide this service to you. Over time we will continue to clarify our positions and make the terms simpler.
Still, the interesting thing about this change in our terms is that it highlights the importance of these issues and their complexity. People want full ownership and control of their information so they can turn off access to it at any time. At the same time, people also want to be able to bring the information others have shared with them—like email addresses, phone numbers, photos and so on—to other services and grant those services access to those people's information. These two positions are at odds with each other. There is no system today that enables me to share my email address with you and then simultaneously lets me control who you share it with and also lets you control what services you share it with.
We're at an interesting point in the development of the open online world where these issues are being worked out. It's difficult terrain to navigate and we're going to make some missteps, but as the leading service for sharing information we take these issues and our responsibility to help resolve them very seriously. This is a big focus for us this year, and I'll post some more thoughts on openness and these other issues soon.
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