Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Go Screw Yourself Facebook, With Your New TOS

For those of you who have been keeping your heads under some rocks, Facebook changed their TOS on the 4th. Now, according to their TOS, the version that has always been, they do not need to notify us of this change. Keep that in mind. Also to keep in mind, every time you log into facebook, even if it is automatic, you are agreeing to the new terms. Basically, they could change the terms and you are just fucked. To leave the contract you need to log on, thus agreeing to the terms... Arguably, however, if you immediately delete the account you did not agree.

Before we go any further, I would like you to read my Legal page; I am going to be talking some legal things here and want you to read that section very carefully.

So, the new TOS of Facebook states 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.
Notice the bolded part. That is right, anything you post on facebook you are granting them rights to us, forever, and anywhere. It used to be that they had the rights unless you canceled the account, but that no longer is the case. Oh, and don't forget, you agreed to arbitration as well.

Now, before we move on to the issues with this, I would like to point out two things.
1) If you don't agree to this contract, and have not signed in since the 4th, then you are able to immediately log in and delete your account. If you have signed in since then, too bad.
2) This does not apply to anything posted PRIOR to the contract. They can not create an ex-post-facto agreement so we are clear in that manner. If Facebook uses a copyrighted image you posted prior to the agreement, and you have sense deleted your account, sue them (consult your lawyer first).

Moving On

Now, this starts to get interesting when you think about what this means. For starters, it creates a fun paradox for all the people who post others images on their facebook. If I post an image made by somebody else, and Facebook uses it in a commercial, what is going to happen? They have the right to use it, as stated in the TOS, but I didn't have the right to put it up there. I really want to see this issue in court at some point.

The other issue is the fact that you are giving Facebook grounds to use your image years after you delete your blog. Blackmail, or things similar, are easily within Facebook's prerogative here as our future leaders are posting harmful images of themselves on the site. Or if I make an image, post it on facebook, and later sell the rights to it. The new owner is screwed when Facebook uses it. The fact that it is an unendable contract is unique (as far as I can tell) to websites and could create some interesting precedent if you get it in court. Oh, wait, it can't be in court, ever...

So, we understand why this change is bad..

Mark, the all glorious and great founder of Facebook, decided to try and defend his decision. He explains that this is simply done to protect Facebook and that they really wouldn't use your information. Basically, he is saying the lawyers made them do it, so you can ignore it.


I do not trust Mark one little bit. If you wanted to protect Facebook, you could make it a lot easier by databasing the ones that were deleted. The wording of the TOS change is so unique, and so bloody pompous, that it is obviously intentional. Mark simply did not understand the backlash that this would cause, and he is trying to cover his tracks. Why the hell should I trust a company when it says it is not going to harm us, but claims the right to? That is the logic Mark is using.

Let me tell you something, this change is a bad thing, and we should all protest it the best we can
Comment and let me know what you think


Bryony said...

I found your post very interesting: it certainly helped with the legal side of things. I totally agree about the big paradox, that's a really good point which I think definitely needs to be addressed. Except I still don't believe that Facebook wants anything more than the right to run their site well, and I don't really think they intended this to be so controversial - instead I think they just casually chucked down the new terms and assumed wrongly that a) no-one would give a damn and b) everyone knew exactly what they meant.


Whalertly said...

It is a paradox that is easily solvable. Facebook needs to reword it to say that the companies it provides data to have accsess on their servers and we need to agree to their terms. That way facebook is covered and we are back where we started

The main problem is the fact that they did not inform us (not that they needed to). Had they did what they are now doing, with a grey box, most of this would have been done

Diane Kristel said...

Hey. Um, actually I'm wondering why Facebook feels the need to make a new ToS. Any ideas?

Whalertly said...

Well, the reason that facebook changed their TOS is pretty straight forward. However, it does fall into one of two different potential reasons

1) They did this simply to protect themselves. Facebook is a large group, and they are sure to make mistakes. Previously, one's info would be deleted (but kept in the archives) after use, the liscence ending then. Now it is forever. We can assume that they were just covering their ass in case they forgot that you deleted something

2) Look at the wording, it clearly intends for another buisness to have their ass covered. I.E., they are selling or giving our info to a third party and they do not want admit it. Basically, they are covering their asses when this company uses the information

I think that it is the second, but that is really up to you...

Now, the reason that they did not tell us that they changed the TOS is pretty basic, they rarely do. They have no requirement to tell us and I am fine with the fact that they didn't. Plus, they were trying to avoid this sort of thing..

On a side note, feel free to look around and comment on the other posts

Ben said...

I heard a lot about this but didnt pay a lot of attention. So I guess good they backtracked?


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