February 17th, 2009 at 03:11pm
Update: I should update this before another person decides to inform me that Facebook have reversed their decision to take control of everyone’s content. I’ve read their statement, and I’m not convinced, because what they say they are doing is reversing the change for now, while they rewrite the change to make it clearer. I may just be cynical, but this really sounds like a temporary reversal, not a complete backflip. End Update
As I’ve said many times, I don’t like Facebook, I have no use for it, and I’m very pleased to not be a part of it. Today I get to add another reason to my list…Facebook have new terms and conditions which effectively say that they own the rights to any content which you contribute to their site, and continue to own the content forever even if you delete the content or suspend or cancel your account.
So let’s get this straight with an example:
A person attends a party and uploads photos of themself in an extremely intoxicated state, along with descriptions of activities undertaken during the course of the event, some of which could be construed in a negative way in the future, potentially impacting on job prospects etc. The next day when said person is sober and decides that they want to remove this content from Facebook, they do so, but face the prospect that Facebook own the content, and are still free to do with it as they please…if (to move to the less likely) they then run for public office with a campaign platform that Facebook disagree with (such as only allowing people with specific tea sets to be members of Social Networking websites), Facebook are able to dig up this content and run a public smear campaign against said person with it.
I can understand the whole “I grant permission to distribute this stuff” type of licence for a service such as Facebook where they need to be able to distribute the content across their servers in order for the service to work…but removing the “but I can withdraw my consent” provision is just beyond the pale for a site which stores as much personal data as Facebook does.
In reality, it’s like diary manufacturers being able to confiscate your personal diary and publish its contents at any time. It’s just nuts.
On the bright side, it gives me some fresh ammunition for the next time a particular person tries to convince me to rejoin Facebook.