Following up on Facebook and privacy

If you’ve logged in to Facebook this morning, you probably noticed a message saying they’ve reverted back to their old terms of service. They caused quite a stir when they moved to a position recently that basically said “we own all your stuff, forever.”

I don’t know if the terms of service change was sincerely meant as a power grab, or more meant to clarify what happens to your wall posts, links, etc., once you delete an account. The Facebook founder made a decent argument for the latter, and I don’t doubt that the change could have had unintended consequences. (The analogy is to compare FB with a webmail service — if I cancel my Gmail account, I don’t expect the cancellation to delete messages I sent to others.)

In any case, the lovely Web site Lifehacker linked to this site this morning. The folks have some really important tips for how users can make sure their drunken tomfoolery doesn’t get shared with Mom and Dad (or with potential sources, etc.). Some of them, like hiding contact info, are probably well known; others, like avoiding photo tagging, may not be. I’m sharing them with students when I can.



Filed under Facebook, New media

3 responses to “Following up on Facebook and privacy

  1. m1chaelk

    I’ve read Facebook’s explanation for the change but also looked at the terms change and the two don’t match up. In fact I’m not sure that the founder has read or understood them but anyone who knows the inside of a record deal would entrirely appreciate just what can happen if, after you’ve left a company, you find you’d given away a free perpetual commercial sublicense including the right to make ‘derivative works’.
    Facebook were clearly, to my mind, attempting a coup. Their sneakiness alone substantiates suspicion and the fact that the Electronic Privacy Information Center had warned it would file a formal complaint with the Federal Trade Commission about the new terms of service within days of hearing about this, speaks volumes in itself.

  2. weirr

    That’s fair. I would agree that I’m not sure Zuckerberg realized how far the terms of service went.

  3. 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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