Facebook, what do you mean?

18 02 2009
pic courtesy flickr -  http://bit.ly/NOapl

pic courtesy flickr - http://bit.ly/NOapl

So, tonight as I sit and type this blog (while watching American Idol) I’m thinking about the new Facebook terms of service (TOS).  This has been a hot topic all weekend long (By the way, the local news just previewed a story on this for the evening report as I’m typing).  But, I’m still so confused!

I did a search on Google for facebook-terms-of-service and I found several articles and blogs commenting on the changes.  Like some bloggers I read, I too heard that Facebook had changed their TOS via Twitter.  I was immediately charged – “What?!? They can’t own my content!  That’s ridiculous!” – were just a few of the thoughts that ran through my head.  The other was, “How can they do this?  I love Facebook.”  I followed a few conversations on Twitter and felt my sentiments were echoed and even expounded.  Here are some of my favorites . . .  (Sorry about the funny formatting.  I haven’t figured out Screenshot yet.  And, sorry Jason Tryfon. I have no idea what happened to your pic.)

  1. jasontryfon The new Facebook terms are laughable. I give credit to the legal team there. “Hey Bob lets see if we can get them to give up everything”

  2. JasonFallsJasonFalls The problem with us being miffed at Facebook’s poor communication or arrogance is there’s nowhere better to go for now.

  3. JasonFallsJasonFalls Is it just me or is Facebook trying to drive people to other social networks? Arrogance will catch up to ya, Mark.

  4. Amanda Ipamandaip Really hope people get smart now and watch their content sharing or else it will bite them in the ass later! #facebooktos

  5. Gary Vaynerchukgaryvee my new terms of service, I own everything on the internet and can do anything I want with it #facebookTOS 😉 man this will be interesting

Now, other than the articles I’ve read and the opinions people have posted on blogs and Twitter, I don’t have any knowledge on terms of service.  I mean, who really reads those things?  I’ve never wanted to be a lawyer and apparently they are the only people who can understand what a TOS says.  But now, I might be trying to learn the language.  Even Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook CEO admitted that, “A lot of the language in our terms is overly formal and protective of the rights we need to provide this service to you.”

Zuckerberg goes on to explain that the language of the terms was one reason for the change.  He also tries to explain in real people terms what the change means.  Here’s what he said in a nutshell:  Facebook has always had the rights to your content but, the wording of the terms of service didn’t accurately reflect that fact – sooo, they changed it.  I think that’s what he was saying.  Please, please feel free to correct or clarify my interpretation.

Here’s why I’m so confused.  Mark Zuckerberg is saying that – it’s cool, it’s been this way the whole time, we believe you own your content, and besides, we’re not going to do anything malicious with it.  But, many other sources are saying that all of the sudden Facebook has ownership of all my stuff for infinity and they can do whatever they want with it and I have no right to royalties or legal action for any misuse.  So which is it?facebook-tos2

Also, who helped (or didn’t help) Mark Zuckerberg write that statement?  I’m still learning PR techniques and skills but, even I know that’s not a very effective statement for this situation.

Personally, I’m feeling a little betrayed and thoroughly confused by Facebook right now.  If there’s anyone who can better explain this or point me in the direction of an actual explanation, I would truly appreciate it.

Lastly, this all seems to reaffirm the fact that we should be conscious and careful about what we post online because it’s there forever and apparently may end up belonging to someone else.

I’ve added the links I’ve visited to my delicious page.  Click here.

Update:  Before I was even able to finish this post these updates were posted on Twitter.  (Dave Morin works for Facebook)

  1. Dave Morindavemorin We received a lot of good feedback and have returned to our previous Terms for now. Here’s an update from us at Facebook http://bit.ly/zM1gy

  2. Harsha GgHarsha This just in. FB is back to its original Terms of Use. Interesting.

But does this change anything? Still confused.

Update: I realized that I spelled Jason Tryfon’s name wrong (Tryfron instead of Tryfon) so I changed it.  Please forgive me Jason.

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One response

22 02 2009
Joe

It makes no sense that Facebook would risk messing up a good thing by edging in on people’s intellectual property. They had people’s trust and then they go and risk losing it; not smart.

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