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I am working on the template of this blog today in order to chase down some problems that have developed with my template and widgets.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Another Strike Against Facebook

Like a lot of people, I have a Facebook Page. I don't post a lot of stuff there because of my deep distrust of the organization. I only use it to make contacts, direct people to my websites and show solidarity with other people on issues and so forth. I don't upload videos or photos unless I am willing to put them in the public domain.

Here is more disturbing news about Facebook from Mashable:

The Consumerist has noticed a seemingly slight but very important (and disturbing) change in Facebook’s terms of service, regarding user-generated content.

In short, all of the content you’ve ever uploaded on Facebook can be used, modified or even sublicensed by Facebook in every possible way - even if you quit the service.

The TOS says the following:

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.

It also used to contain another bit that is now missing.

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.

This is also reinforced by the “Termination” section:

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.

Sure, most users don’t really care (or think they don’t care) about all this, but the idea that you now cannot stop Facebook from using your content should you ever want to is frightening to say the least.

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