p2pnet news view | Advertising:- Facebook knows your age, alma mater and favorite band. It’s seen your spring break photos and read the messages you sent to your friend. So, can it do anything it wants with that content?
Huh ?! Yup. Or so the intro to this Chicago Tribune story says, going on:
“Legally, almost. But in practice, the rules that govern Facebook’s relationship with its users are abstract and subject to constant negotiation.
Yesterday, “I reported on Facebook’s new terms of service, which appears to assert permanent rights to any content that users create or upload, even after they delete it from the site,” said Paul Boutin in the Industry Standard.
His post provoked a response from Facebook, which says in part »»»
We are not claiming and have never claimed ownership of material that users upload. The new Terms were clarified to be more consistent with the behavior of the site. That is, if you send a message to another user (or post to their wall, etc…), that content might not be removed by Facebook if you delete your account (but can be deleted by your friend). Furthermore, it is important to note that this license is made subject to the user`s privacy settings. So any limitations that a user puts on display of the relevant content (e.g. To specific friends) are respected by Facebook. Also, the license only allows us to use the info “in connection with the Facebook Service or the promotion thereof.” Users generally expect and understand this behavior as it has been a common practice for web services since the advent of webmail. For example, if you send a message to a friend on a webmail service, that service will not delete that message from your friend’s inbox if you delete your account.
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 themâlike email addresses, phone numbers, photos and so onâto 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,” he says.
That should be good.
Definitely stay tuned.
Chicago Tribune – Facebook’s friendship comes with fine print, February 17, 2009
Industry Standard - Facebook: “We have never claimed ownership” of members’ content, February 16, 2009
Beacon – Blockbuster sued over Facebook Beacon, April 17, 2008
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