Skip

Facebook: What's the worst that could happen?
February 17, 2009 7:34 PM   Subscribe

For those who haven't already heard, Facebook has recently changed their terms of service. Some people are uneasy about this, others want to lodge a federal complaint. But should we really be worried?
posted by lizbunny (97 comments total) 8 users marked this as a favorite

 
There's about 25 things that bother me about these new changes.
posted by ALongDecember at 7:40 PM on February 17, 2009 [17 favorites]


Hey, let's everyone give all our personal information to a corporation funded in part by the CIA and run by an arrogant 22 year old! What could possibly go wrong.

It's amazing how bad social networking sites are generally. Myspace was embarrassingly horrible, yet got incredibly popular. Friendster couldn't even handle the traffic, and now Facebook is marginally OK, but it's hardly a trustworthy, fluffy-cuddly company (as Google tries to portray itself). It regularly sues people for making apps to export data, despite the fact that facebook doesn't actually have any claim on the data.

What's needed is a P2P system where people host their own profiles on their own servers (Obviously, you would want people to be able to share servers). Email mostly works on that model, except for the spam. If people could figure out how to prevent massive spamming in a distributed environment, you could create something better then facebook pretty easily, something that wasn't controlled by anyone.
posted by delmoi at 7:42 PM on February 17, 2009 [12 favorites]


What, you mean that like in the real world things on the Internets are not totally free and our posting of the most intimate, personal information on someone else's website has potential consequences?

Well, there goes the hippie movement of our generation.
posted by Muddler at 7:43 PM on February 17, 2009 [4 favorites]


What, you mean that like in the real world things on the Internets are not totally free and our posting of the most intimate, personal information on someone else's website has potential consequences?

Which is why people should host these things on their own websites.
posted by delmoi at 7:43 PM on February 17, 2009 [2 favorites]


I almost made this post.
As more time goes on, I really wonder why I'm even on there. Sure, it's useful for keeping in touch with some people, but really- If someone's really my friend, then they won't need to look at what I put on some stupid website to know what I'm about.
posted by dunkadunc at 7:43 PM on February 17, 2009 [2 favorites]


You Have 3 Invitations

Hey [username], check out Mob Wars. Join the Mafia, and start your own mob. Band together with your friends to become the most powerful force in the elite criminal underworld of Facebook.

Hey [username], check out Mob Wars. Join the Mafia, and start your own mob. Band together with your friends to become the most powerful force in the elite criminal underworld of Facebook.

Hey [username], check out Mob Wars. Join the Mafia, and start your own mob. Band together with your friends to become the most powerful force in the elite criminal underworld of Facebook.
posted by turgid dahlia at 7:45 PM on February 17, 2009 [4 favorites]


A comment on another website suggested that Facebook could now (legally!) get into the coffee table book business - you know, Pictures I Wish Past Employers Had Never Seen, Excerpts From Steamy, Romantic Inbox Messages, or the ever enlightening Lists of People I Probably Shouldn't Have Poked.
posted by niles at 7:49 PM on February 17, 2009 [5 favorites]


and on non-preview: The associate dean of the program I'm in is on record asking students in the hall if they have "joined my mob yet". We're not sure if he's a)being ironic, b)trying to fit in, or c)just cool because he actually understands how to use Facebook.
posted by niles at 7:52 PM on February 17, 2009


Sure, it's useful for keeping in touch with some people, but really- If someone's really my friend, then they won't need to look at what I put on some stupid website to know what I'm about.

Phones..sure they are useful for keeping in touch with some people, but really - if someone's really my friend, then they won't need to call me on that stupid thing when they can just drop by.

Signed,
The 20th Century
posted by spicynuts at 7:55 PM on February 17, 2009 [21 favorites]


That's a bad analogy.
posted by dunkadunc at 7:58 PM on February 17, 2009


I don't understand why Facebook needs the exclusive rights to your "work" to distribute it. I know a bit about photo licensing and i still don't understand it. Is this because I'm missing something or they're full of crap?

It seems like they're opening themselves up to a ton of potential trouble along the lines of Person A posts a photo that Person B took and Person B sues Facebook for copyright infringement. That release you agree to when you sign isn't worth the pixels it's made of in terms of Facebook having made a good faith attempt to exclusively license a photo. I'd think it'd be easier for Facebook to deny all rights to property hosted on the site to avoid these issues.

Unless the whole coffee book thing is their real plan.
posted by fshgrl at 8:03 PM on February 17, 2009




That's a bad analogy.


To you maybe, but my business deals with tweens. To them, the argument that conducting a relationship via Facebook is 'illegitimate' or some who less than sincere will get you laughed back to the 20th Century. It's gonna be their world, not yours.
posted by spicynuts at 8:04 PM on February 17, 2009 [4 favorites]


Spicynuts: Yeah, remember when AT&T claimed exclusive rights to all of our phone conversations?

What?
posted by leotrotsky at 8:05 PM on February 17, 2009 [2 favorites]


No, that's a bad analogy.
posted by tepidmonkey at 8:08 PM on February 17, 2009 [1 favorite]


Someone needs to start a Facebook group to protest this.
posted by Saxon Kane at 8:11 PM on February 17, 2009 [2 favorites]


that was not wat i was responding to. i was responding to a specific comment about 'if someone was really my friend they wouldn't need Facebook'. Which is basically saying that a new generation will have different priorities and very well may not give a shit about what Facebook does and does not own. Clearly the SHOULD based on what you and I consider reason...but like I said..they have a different yardstick.
posted by spicynuts at 8:12 PM on February 17, 2009


I don't understand why Facebook needs the exclusive rights to your "work" to distribute it.

It's not exclusive.
posted by niles at 8:13 PM on February 17, 2009 [1 favorite]


I say, if Facebook or Google or whoever want to use one of my photographs, books, blogs, logos, or whatever in a worldwide marketing scheme then good luck to them. In return I will use the fact that they have to enable all my future artistic output to command a high price. Yes, Mr producer, I was the face of Facebook that time. Think about it that way and it doesn’t seem so scary.

Um, what?

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.

Thanks, Mark Zuckerberg. That makes me feel a hell of a lot better!
posted by blucevalo at 8:22 PM on February 17, 2009


Myspace has a similar provision in their TOS. I was under the impression they do this because they are the publishers of the content. It's not that they're planning to reuse or sell the content - they need the right to pesent it in the first place. Facebook has taken it one step further - they "own" the rights in perpetuity because your wall comments and other content you have left for your contacts doesn't disappear after you delete your account.


Besides, most of the personal content on Facebook is pretty boring, so I can't see wh they would want it for any other reason.
posted by louche mustachio at 8:23 PM on February 17, 2009


I've never been able to get very het up about this because I never had any illusions about the moral purity or privacy of FaceBook, or most other social networking sites of this kind.
posted by Miko at 8:27 PM on February 17, 2009 [5 favorites]


This.
posted by ryoshu at 8:28 PM on February 17, 2009


You mean Facebook might own the exclusive rights to the results of your "Which Jonas Brother are you?" quiz forevah? Next you'll be telling me Twitter will assert ownership of every scintillating description of what their users had for lunch.

No, we shouldn't really be worried. In fact, if this causes enough people to leave Facebook, we should be happy.
posted by DecemberBoy at 8:29 PM on February 17, 2009 [2 favorites]


starts to wonder who really owns her blog? typepad the host?
posted by infini at 8:29 PM on February 17, 2009


This isn't any surprise to me. Hell, I pretty much saw it coming. I argued in some other Facebook thread here on MeFi that there was an ulterior motive behind Facebook's inistence that you use your real name to create your account and this is pretty much the last step towards Facebook selling your data and making money off of all the content you've created and put on your Facebook page.
posted by Effigy2000 at 8:31 PM on February 17, 2009


Who gives a fuck? I mean believe me, I'm a privacy nut, but when I signed up for Facebook I never expected any. So by all means, use that nondescript picture of me sitting in a restaurant.
posted by Roman Graves at 8:36 PM on February 17, 2009 [3 favorites]


Rob is happy to give The Facebook the rights to his life and image. Maybe It will do something better with it.
posted by ford and the prefects at 8:37 PM on February 17, 2009 [1 favorite]


Facebook terms of service compared with MySpace, Flickr, Picasa, YouTube, LinkedIn, and Twitter:
"This one kills me: Facebook claims it can do whatever it wants with your content if you put a Share on Facebook link on your web page. Unbelievable–and unique, as far as I can tell. People can post links in Facebook to your content just by copying and pasting the URL, but if you want to save them a few keystrokes by putting a link or a widget on your site, Facebook claims that you’ve granted them a whole mess of rights. Count me out."
posted by crawl at 8:37 PM on February 17, 2009 [1 favorite]


Man, I just wanna play Pathwords. I don't give a damn.
posted by louche mustachio at 8:37 PM on February 17, 2009 [2 favorites]


I don't understand what the problem here is. They sell your data? Big fucking deal, you already know what to do with spam and junk mail and telemarketer calls. They turn it all over to the government? Guess what, the government knows everything about you already (ever heard of Carnivore?), and if you're stupid enough to discuss anything more illegal than pot or underage drinking on Facebook, you deserve what's coming to you. What else could they do with it? Send embarrassing photos of yourself to your ex-girlfriend? WHOOPS, TOO LATE, YOU DID THAT ALREADY.
posted by nasreddin at 8:40 PM on February 17, 2009 [2 favorites]


that you use your real name to create your account

I am continuously baffled by the fact that otherwise privacy-concerned people swallow this. My last name on Facebook is "Mercury." It does not contain my phone number or address. That's just freaking insane. Also, I haven't bothered to login since they pulled Scrabulous because the site is Absolutely Worthless without it.

The really interesting is, objectively, how much better Myspace is. I remember an article that came out about a year ago that said, "Facebook is for officers, Myspace is for soldiers." it's amazing how successful they've been at getting people to parrot their marketing- that Myspace is terrible because some people customize their pages in ugly ways, while Facebook is somehow better for simply making everyone stick with their ugly default page.
posted by drjimmy11 at 8:47 PM on February 17, 2009


It's a brave new digital world, privacy is fast becoming a historical anachronism.

Please excuse me while I comb through my Facebook account and make sure there's nothing too unsavory going on there.
posted by charmcityblues at 8:48 PM on February 17, 2009


What am I going to do now that facebook owns the rights to almost all the pictures of me waste-ass drunk? I DON'T REMEMBER DOING THAT AND NOW YOU TELL ME I DON'T EVEN OWN THE EVIDENCE THAT I [3 lines redacted]
posted by fuq at 8:48 PM on February 17, 2009 [4 favorites]


People will continue to choose social networking sites over email because email A) is too much trouble, B) not group friendly, C) high maintenance and D) works inconsistently for different users on different providers using different clients an with different maintenance skill levels.

Spam is a big problem but it's far from the only problem. I use email both personally and professionally, but as a core communication technology it's crumbling from mismanagement, overexploitation and failure of the current crop of corporate players to cooperate on new standards that might have saved it.

I can see why the Facebook crowd would prefer a social networking site; it's optimized by design for what they want to use it for, which is to painlessly keep in touch with a lot of people in an easy and consistent way, without all the pointless bullshit and breakage.
posted by George_Spiggott at 8:50 PM on February 17, 2009 [6 favorites]


The really interesting is, objectively, how much better Myspace is.

Yeah, if you're a pedophile or a 16-year-old emo girl.
posted by nasreddin at 8:51 PM on February 17, 2009 [10 favorites]


nasreddin, you could suddenly find your picture used in an advertising campaign. It's happened before. So now Facebook can do it and it's all hunky dory. Got bad acne and posted your photos to Facebook? Expect to show up in a Clearasil ad. Using a Nokia mobile phone in one of your Facebook photos? Show up in a Nokia ad. Eating KFC? Show up in a KFC ad. Talking on your wall about how great your new Holden car is? Your words appear as a testimonial in a Holden ad. And so on and so forth.

And you won't see one cent of the money Facebook makes from selling your content, your image, your words.

And that's the problem.
posted by Effigy2000 at 8:57 PM on February 17, 2009 [9 favorites]


If I didn't think all facebook apps were a pain in the ass, I'd think now would be a good time for a chicken little one.
posted by Kiablokirk at 8:57 PM on February 17, 2009


This is heresay: A cop buddy of mine told me that he has no problem getting info from Facebook. No warrant necessary - if he suspects some kid, he can give the company's special law-enforcement desk a ring and they'll instantly hook him up with multiple photos of the suspect, a list of their friends, their activities for the last few years.... all willingly supplied by the suspect themselves. Who could have predicted that we'd completely trade away our privacy for the ability to send animated gifs to eachother.
posted by Popular Ethics at 9:03 PM on February 17, 2009 [16 favorites]


nasreddin, you could suddenly find your picture used in an advertising campaign. It's happened before. So now Facebook can do it and it's all hunky dory. Got bad acne and posted your photos to Facebook? Expect to show up in a Clearasil ad. Using a Nokia mobile phone in one of your Facebook photos? Show up in a Nokia ad. Eating KFC? Show up in a KFC ad. Talking on your wall about how great your new Holden car is? Your words appear as a testimonial in a Holden ad. And so on and so forth.

And you won't see one cent of the money Facebook makes from selling your content, your image, your words.

And that's the problem.


Horseshit. That's not how advertising works. Yes, pictures have been stolen from Flickr--but not because of the ugly mug of the person taking it. Once I see a real ad campaign that uses artless, out-of-focus images of random people from the Internet, as opposed to perfectly smooth-skinned Photoshopped models, I'll start getting worried. But in the meantime this is just a ridiculous thing to be afraid of.
posted by nasreddin at 9:05 PM on February 17, 2009 [1 favorite]


heresay = hearsay
posted by Popular Ethics at 9:05 PM on February 17, 2009


And besides, read the terms. They say your likeness can only be used to advertise or promote Facebook, not any other company. I'm willing to bet that out of millions of people, it is unlikely that I will be the one chosen to promote it.
posted by nasreddin at 9:10 PM on February 17, 2009




ALL YOUR FACE ARE BELONG TO US.
posted by isopraxis at 9:13 PM on February 17, 2009 [13 favorites]


Jesus hopping crippled Christ on a pogo crutch, I'm getting sick of people who see a fairly-boilerplate set of "grant us this so that you won't be able to sue us for copyright infringement whenever you post something" license terms and go crazy.

(for the record, I suspect the change people are going all apesh*t over has more to do with, e.g., a system similar to Google's where deleting an account/piece of content does not immediately and magically find every hard drive on which those bits ever existed and nuke them instantaneously, but hey, people get all worked up about that when Google does it, so why not Facebook?)
posted by ubernostrum at 9:16 PM on February 17, 2009


Jesus fucking Christ, like you were going to write Finnegan’s Wake on someone’s wall or some shit?

That's a brilliant post. The best part are the comments by "Dave." WAKE UP SHEEPLE! FACEBOOK KNOWS YOU BOUGHT AN ACHEWOOD THONG AT CAFEPRESS!
posted by nasreddin at 9:18 PM on February 17, 2009 [3 favorites]


facebook has always, always, always been like this.

I was an undergrad when facebook launched, and my school was about number 5 to join the network -- march '04, if memory serves. I don't know if there even were terms of service on it yet, because it was basically just a fun, somewhat-fragile toy, the ramifications of which nobody had really yet grasped.

anyway, after about a week on the site, a friend of mine got bored and wanted to delete his account. well, there was no way to deactivate it. so he emailed the facebook help account (in the days before facebook messages, even) about how to do it. he got an email back from zuckerberg himself.

the response? well, go ahead and defriend people, break your links, remove all your info ... but we don't have any way to delete your data, and aren't really planning on building one.

I don't know what zuckerberg had in mind when he launched the site, but he figured out the value of retaining user data pretty damn fast.
posted by theoddball at 9:28 PM on February 17, 2009 [4 favorites]


And this! Scary
posted by threadbare at 9:36 PM on February 17, 2009 [3 favorites]


I don't get what the big deal is. It doesn't sound like it's all that different from the policy before. This seems more like people who desperately wanted to dislike Facebook anyway jumping on the freak out bandwagon.

But then, I've come to terms with the idea that privacy is dead, and I don't really believe in intellectual property anyway. Of course they own it. Everybody owned it as soon as I published it.

I mean if a band that tried to keep their creative expression off the internet couldn't do it, then why on earth would I expect that I could control something that I deliberately published on the internet? The only difference is there are fewer people who know about my stuff or would care to use it. If you don't want people to reappropriate your pithy wall comments or photos or whatever, don't publish them.
posted by willnot at 9:39 PM on February 17, 2009


funded in part by the CIA

I'm going to go out on a limb and guess that you don't have a cite for this, huh?
posted by dhammond at 9:43 PM on February 17, 2009


Someone needs to start a Facebook group to protest this.

...someone already did start a facebook page about this.
posted by MsCoco@6:58 at 9:48 PM on February 17, 2009


It's Finnegans Wake, not Finnegan's Wake. Just sayin.
posted by muckster at 9:52 PM on February 17, 2009 [1 favorite]


I just assume they're using all my content for data mining purposes. Fortunately, because the Venn diagram representing my content and any information useful to advertisers looks like John Lennon's glasses, I am entirely unconcerned. Ah, the benefits of being a classical banjo player with a passion for 78rpm records.
posted by The White Hat at 9:55 PM on February 17, 2009 [7 favorites]


I'm going to go out on a limb and guess that you don't have a cite for this, huh?

Let me guess, you haven't googled it?
Facebook's most recent round of funding was led by a company called Greylock Venture Capital, who put in the sum of $27.5m. One of Greylock's senior partners is called Howard Cox, another former chairman of the NVCA, who is also on the board of In-Q-Tel. What's In-Q-Tel? Well, believe it or not (and check out their website), this is the venture-capital wing of the CIA.
-- Tom Hodgkinson, The Guardian, Monday 14 January 2008
posted by Rhomboid at 10:11 PM on February 17, 2009 [4 favorites]


Who could have predicted that we'd completely trade away our privacy for the ability to send animated gifs to eachother.

You must be new here.
posted by Riki tiki at 10:14 PM on February 17, 2009 [1 favorite]


this is the venture-capital wing of the CIA.

Okay, thanks...so you're basically pointing out that In-Q-Tel, the "venture capital wing of the CIA", hasn't invested in Facebook. Someone parsing the nuances of a company's TOS should be able to figure out that having a board member in common doesn't make the company's (or their interests) identical. This is sloppy thinking.
posted by dhammond at 10:20 PM on February 17, 2009 [3 favorites]




As for the legalities of "who you associate with" - all you need to do is prove that you either released your password somewhere public or someone got unapproved access to your account.

"I" didn't do it.

As long as we're not dealing with photographic or genotypic evidence. Heh - I should write a fb app that gets people to post their genomes to fb.

Sure, there's stuff about me and on me on facebook, but I'm not quite stupid enough to post pictures of myself with ounces of marijuana on fb or pictures/video of me putting my willy in an underaged girl/boy or anything.

FB has it's uses and usefulness, but if you don't understand that whatever you post on there is, essentially, privacy-less, you don't understand teh intarnets.

I'd be interested if anyone here could couple my metafilter account with my facebook account. For purely academic reasons.
posted by porpoise at 10:35 PM on February 17, 2009


Nevermind me.
posted by porpoise at 10:41 PM on February 17, 2009


muckster: I saw that as well, but it was a direct quote, so I preserved the mistake.
posted by Ian A.T. at 10:54 PM on February 17, 2009


I have to agree with Zuckerberg here. Now, he's not known for being the most moral person around, but even if he was, if Facebook wanted to do what they do, without risk of any legal action whatsoever, they would pretty much be forced to assert this list of rights, and require users to "agree" to that, in the EULA sense of "agree".

Whether or not it's an inherently evil thing to do, it's a response to other evils.
posted by aeschenkarnos at 11:02 PM on February 17, 2009


I will continue to use Facebook, because it's a good casual way to keep track of friends. I will continue to not post pictures of myself, or put any information on it that I consider private. I won't post any creative work that I would prefer not to have stolen or copied. Just like I do with the rest of the internets.

Facebook is not the enemy. Lack of common sense is the enemy.
posted by OolooKitty at 11:08 PM on February 17, 2009 [3 favorites]


I must be stupid but I was under the impression that facebook is a business and as a user of that service I shouldn't begrudge the company to make a dollar or two at my expense when I certainly find its service useful and free. Facebook is not a universal right nor is it any kind of governmental agency. It has no information on me unless I put that information in myself and it behoves me to know how to use my computer and ensure cookies aren't tracking things that I don't want them to track. I am also not forced to include my intimate detailed information such as home phone number, address and personal proclivities and can just as easily not upload those questionable images from Budapest I have in my IRL photo album.

That being said, I certainly would be well pissed off should I find a personal photo being used in an advert campaign such as the Virgin Mobile adverts and consider that crossing the line of fair use and invasion of personal domain and would take legal action against it. Considering however that the internet was originally developed by various governmental interests, I'm not entirely sure I should be so OH NOES WTF? THERE B A GOBERMENT CONSPIRACY when my government folder was likely started the moment I decided to go to a particular university, not the moment I joined facebook.

So they're data mining how many conservative feminists read Catcher in the Rye? That's all? We should all be so astoundingly lucky. That kind of tsunami luck would mean that the mental morons would suddenly forget how to upload that picture of your friend taking a bong hit so that his employer doesn't fire him from his assistant position. At what point are we all going to collectively smack our heads and remember that we share the responsibility of our privacy with every other entity and not be the chump that so readily enters their phone number on every bleeding networking system and expect that no one is going to use it.
posted by eatdonuts at 11:16 PM on February 17, 2009


I'd be interested if anyone here could couple my metafilter account with my facebook account. For purely academic reasons.

Is this it?
posted by willnot at 11:25 PM on February 17, 2009


Someone needs to start a Facebook group to protest this.

Done.

Also: Facebook are Nazis.
posted by foxy_hedgehog at 11:46 PM on February 17, 2009


Facebook has already reverted to the old TOS. Dickheads overstepped and now they're paying for it.
posted by bwg at 12:01 AM on February 18, 2009


Interesting. I updated my FB account to suggest I was unhappy with the new TOS, and within a couple of hours I received this message at the top of my profile:

Terms of Use Update

Over the past few days, we have received a lot of feedback about the new terms we posted two weeks ago. Because of this response, we have decided to return to our previous Terms of Use while we resolve the issues that people have raised.

If you want to share your thoughts on what should be in the new terms, check out our group Facebook Bill of Rights and Responsibilities.

posted by stinkycheese at 12:24 AM on February 18, 2009


I got that notice as well-- I'm guessing it was posted to all users.
posted by NoraReed at 12:47 AM on February 18, 2009


If you have photos that are so high quality that they could be used in an advertisement, why would you post them to Facebook? Surely anyone who cares about their intellectual property would upload those kind of things to Flickr instead.
posted by minifigs at 1:01 AM on February 18, 2009 [1 favorite]


Facebook has already reverted to the old TOS. Dickheads overstepped and now they're paying for it.

How are they paying for it?
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 4:04 AM on February 18, 2009


That was funny minifigs. Well played.

Now I'm not sure you're making a joke on the Virgin/Flickr-photo ad campaign or not though
posted by dabitch at 4:16 AM on February 18, 2009 [1 favorite]


since they pulled Scrabulous

Scrabulous is back. It's called Lexulous now, but it's exactly the same, and my in-progress games from last summer were in tact when it returned.
posted by lampoil at 4:24 AM on February 18, 2009


I don't understand why I'm supposed to be upset by the changes. Wasn't the OLD model bad enough? Couldn't all the "apps" I "installed" already read all my personal information and send it back to whoever made the app in the first place? Sounds to me like they've just centralized all the evil they were already allowing.
posted by DU at 4:27 AM on February 18, 2009 [1 favorite]


Guess what, consumers: there is no such thing as a free lunch. The barriers to operating in Facebook's space are embarrassingly low, which is why it torched Friendster's and Friends Reunited's business models overnight almost.

It has to make money somehow, and it has to do it by leveraging the scale of its user groups somehow. One way would be to charge on a subscription basis, another to move to an ad model, or another to derive some commercial worth from its user base and the information contained within it. A fourth way, clearly, is some combo of all of these models.

As someone who is just on the borderline of Facebook's target demographic, I don't buy in at all. Call me an oldie, but I'm just uncomfortable with investing my personal information, my "content", thoughts, contacts and so forth on a third party system. Even less on a system that has a commercial imperative to find some way to make money off me without actually requiring me to fork over cash directly.

The TOS are awful, but that's what happens when lawyers and business developers have to account for worst case or bad case scenarios in which non-locked in users can take their stuff elsewhere. I empathise with them, to some degree, because when anyone goes through that process it is dead easy to end up at the conclusion that the only thing fit for purpose involves some horrible compromise.
posted by MuffinMan at 4:28 AM on February 18, 2009 [1 favorite]


As for the legalities of "who you associate with" - all you need to do is prove that you either released your password somewhere public or someone got unapproved access to your account.

"I" didn't do it.


May be harder than you think. An English guy got sued for defamation recently, based on a nasty fake profile he created of a former friend. Facebook released details of who had created and modified the account (times, IP addresses), and it matched times that the defendant's computer had been logged-in to FB. Defendant claimed that it was during a party, and someone else must have made up the profile. Judge disagreed, found him guilty.

See here, especially paragraph 10 for the details of how it was discovered, and what info FB gave up.
posted by Infinite Jest at 5:20 AM on February 18, 2009 [2 favorites]


If you have photos that are so high quality that they could be used in an advertisement, why would you post them to Facebook?

I have a friend who was- twice- surprised to suddenly discover their face on a webad for dating sites. You don't need something high-res when you're just making a JPG banner ad.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 5:26 AM on February 18, 2009 [1 favorite]


I have a friend who was- twice- surprised to suddenly discover their face on a webad for dating sites. You don't need something high-res when you're just making a JPG banner ad.

In a cruel twist of irony, I found my face plastered all over an anti-dating web site.
posted by KevinSkomsvold at 5:36 AM on February 18, 2009 [3 favorites]


Good news: Facebook reverts to old TOS, at least for now.
More good news: Facebook creates a group for discussion of next version of TOS before implementing them.
Very bad news: discussion on said group is filled with a) trolls, b) people complaining about aspects of Facebook they don't like but which have nothing to do with the TOS, and c) people who don't understand the issues involved (like one guy I saw who said that anything posted to Facebook should be under a Creative Commons license, and also that Facebook's or anyone else's rights in his content should end once he takes it down.) Facebook needs to agressively delete (a) and (b) and respond to the misinformation in (c) if there's to be any hope of intelligent discussion there.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 5:54 AM on February 18, 2009 [2 favorites]


I didn't really understand the new (well now not current) TOS. I read that link concerning the "Share" button which seemed to indicate that if someone used that button to post webpages to Facebook, that Facebook would then own the rights of that page. What about people who post their RSS feeds to their Wall/newsfeed/minifeed (or whatever it's called)? Some people do this for their Flickr photostream and for their blogs, so people on Facebook can follow them. Does FB also own the rights to those items? I could never get a good answer and considered stopping use of that functionality which would have been a shame because I liked letting people see that I had posted pics on Flickr without having to also upload them to FB.
posted by bluefly at 6:00 AM on February 18, 2009


Haha KevinSkomsvold, that must have stung.

Speaking of your face and banners though: on Facebook your face can be used in ads (without you knowing it)
posted by dabitch at 6:11 AM on February 18, 2009 [1 favorite]


"Okay, thanks...so you're basically pointing out that In-Q-Tel, the 'venture capital wing of the CIA', hasn't invested in Facebook. Someone parsing the nuances of a company's TOS should be able to figure out that having a board member in common doesn't make the company's (or their interests) identical. This is sloppy thinking."

The fact that a board member from In-Q-Tel is involved in Facebook's investments is not something I can ignore, either. It may not mean anything, but in businesses, appearances do count for something, as well as the company you keep.
posted by krinklyfig at 7:38 AM on February 18, 2009 [1 favorite]


Now I'm not sure you're making a joke on the Virgin/Flickr-photo ad campaign or not though

Ha! I'd forgotten about that. I think we can agree that in general though:

Watermarked images on your own site > Flickr > Facebook.
posted by minifigs at 7:57 AM on February 18, 2009


Does anyone else remember when "The Wall" was more like a Wiki than blog comments? Friends could edit it and you could see a revision history... I'm not just imagining this, right?
posted by ALongDecember at 8:25 AM on February 18, 2009


I am continuously baffled by the fact that otherwise privacy-concerned people swallow this. My last name on Facebook is "Mercury." It does not contain my phone number or address. That's just freaking insane.

The phone book lists people's address, phone number, and name. Is that insane? I don't get it. Either one you can avoid this, but it's not uncommon for people to be listed in the phone book (which in turn means on the internet now, since the "phone book" is online).

(Of course, I use Facebook mostly to allow people to find me, so it's basically a phone book for me --- I don't put a lot of _other_ info there that can be associated. I suppose it depends on how much info you aggregate together).
posted by wildcrdj at 9:00 AM on February 18, 2009 [2 favorites]


Myspace has a similar provision in their TOS. I was under the impression they do this because they are the publishers of the content. It's not that they're planning to reuse or sell the content - they need the right to pesent it in the first place. Facebook has taken it one step further - they "own" the rights in perpetuity because your wall comments and other content you have left for your contacts doesn't disappear after you delete your account.


Besides, most of the personal content on Facebook is pretty boring, so I can't see wh they would want it for any other reason.


I'm not a lawyer or anything, but:

"By uploading content to facebook you grant facebook permission to display said content on the site for as long as you have an account. When you delete your account we will delete your content, and this grant of permission expires."

That was awfully easy, wasn't it?
posted by odinsdream at 9:18 AM on February 18, 2009


And we're curious as to why MeFi hasn't galloped into this particular minefield?

I'm seeing the wisdom now.
posted by greekphilosophy at 9:35 AM on February 18, 2009


Speaking as someone who has spent the last eleven years working in the advertising business, trust me when I tell you we don't need your profile picture for our campaign.
posted by thivaia at 9:54 AM on February 18, 2009


trust me when I tell you we don't need your profile picture for our campaign.

well fine! You are missing out on a very awesome cell phone picture I took of my very awesome dog.
posted by jerseygirl at 10:04 AM on February 18, 2009 [2 favorites]


Okay, thanks...so you're basically pointing out that In-Q-Tel, the "venture capital wing of the CIA", hasn't invested in Facebook. Someone parsing the nuances of a company's TOS should be able to figure out that having a board member in common doesn't make the company's (or their interests) identical. This is sloppy thinking."

No, mapping and mining common relationships is a major portion of one does intelligence work.
posted by digitalprimate at 10:47 AM on February 18, 2009 [1 favorite]


The problem I see that could actually matter is this: I know a whole lot of artists (some student and some professional) that use facebook to show their work. I was about to, too.

Also, the first link says something about this not applying to stuff that's not publicly visible. Anyone know anything about that?
posted by cmoj at 10:55 AM on February 18, 2009


Heroin, crack and now Facebook. Sounds like the CIA has a pattern.
posted by formless at 11:25 AM on February 18, 2009


I'm infuriated that Facebook is infringing on my constitutional right to post whatever I want to the servers that they are providing free for my use, funded by the ads they have always put on my pages!

I think it's time for some serious online activism to fight the Facebook menace. Let's start a Facebook group about this issue! Yes we can! Yes we can!
posted by Artifice_Eternity at 11:35 AM on February 18, 2009


Guess What?

There is no privacy if you are online.

ANYWHERE

Thanks AT&T.
posted by HyperBlue at 11:55 AM on February 18, 2009


I'm infuriated that Facebook is infringing on my constitutional right to post whatever I want to the servers that they are providing free for my use, funded by the ads they have always put on my pages!

I think you're confusing this issue with an earlier Facebook brouhaha. I don't see anyone making that argument here. This issue is not about Facebook stopping anyone from posting anything, nor is anyone claiming that it is.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 12:26 PM on February 18, 2009


So apparently Facebook reverted their changes. Obviously, this was a serious issue and Facebook actually bowed to the pressure brought on.

So everyone in this thread who said it was no big deal, or that there was not purpose in complaining upset were WRONG.
posted by delmoi at 2:34 PM on February 18, 2009


So everyone in this thread who said it was no big deal, or that there was not purpose in complaining upset were WRONG.

Yeah, bad publicity=substantive issue! Just like when Dunkin' Donuts pulled the Rachel Ray ads!
posted by nasreddin at 2:44 PM on February 18, 2009 [1 favorite]


I suspect that Zuckerberg just jumped in his airship and is radio-ing HQ now to say, "I'll be in my mobile command center until this blows over! I want a full plain-English write-up of the TOS by tomorrow morning - keep the interns all night if you have to! Fucking idiot Facebook users not understanding the concept of internet licensure...Now get me the hell away from here!"
posted by greekphilosophy at 3:34 PM on February 18, 2009


How are they paying for it?

Backlash, loss of face, closed accounts, and bad karma.

I doubt it'll lose much money, which is unfortunate.
posted by bwg at 12:58 AM on February 19, 2009


I doubt there will be many (or any) consequences.

They got a hell of a lot of attention and will point to this as proof they 'listen to customers'.

Well played.
posted by justgary at 1:30 AM on February 19, 2009


« Older If You Can't Make The Journey   |   Boyle Family Art Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments



Post