much ado about facebook

Facebook sent this email last week alerting its users that it was changing its terms of service, which they call the Statement of Rights and Responsibilities (SRR), and its Data Use Policy.  Users had until November 28th to submit comments on the proposal to the facebook website.  That date has come and gone, and we are just waiting to see if the changes will be approved in whole or in part.  But the proposed changes were enough to have many of our friends posting things like this.

In response to the new Facebook guidelines I hereby declare that my copyright is attached to all of my personal details, illustrations, comics, paintings, photos and videos, etc. (as a result of the Berner Convention).
For commercial use of the above my written consent is needed at all times!
(Anyone reading this can copy this text and paste it on their Facebook Wall. This will place them under protection of copyright laws, By the present communiqué, I notify Facebook that it is strictly forbidden to disclose, copy, distribute, disseminate, or take any other action against me on the basis of this profile and/or its contents. The aforementioned prohibited actions also apply to employees, students, agents and/or any staff under Facebook’s direction or control. The content of this profile is private and confidential information. The violation of my privacy is punished by law (UCC 1 1-308-308 1-103 and the Rome Statute).
Facebook is now an open capital entity. All members are recommended to publish a notice like this, or if you prefer, you may copy and paste this version. If you do not publish a statement at least once, you will be tacitly allowing the use of elements such as your photos as well as the information contained in your profile status updates.

We learned quickly from Snopes that this type of warning has no power.  But we are left wondering, what will these changes do?  To figure this out, I went straight to the source.  And you should too.

The current terms of service are here. They were adopted in June 2012.
The proposed terms are here.

Interestingly, the changes to the SRR are pretty minor.  They related to commercial use (Section 4), and how facebook will deal with changes in the future (Section 14 Amendments).  You can even “like” the governance page to get updates.

Sidenote: you do own all your content on facebook.  This seems to be the biggest concern of my friends who post the above warning  But here is an excerpt from the SRR as it relates to ownership.

“You own all of the content and information you post on Facebook, and you can control how it is shared through your privacy and application settings. In addition:1. For content that is covered by intellectual property rights, like photos and videos (IP content), you specifically give us the following permission, subject to your privacy and application settings: you grant us a non-exclusive, transferable, sub-licensable, royalty-free, worldwide license to use any IP content that you post on or in connection with Facebook (IP License).”

The bigger issue that you should be concerned about is how Facebook uses your data. The updates to the Data Use Policy are relatively minor.  Reading the document is, however, a good reminder of how much data facebook has and how they do use what you post!  You should read (or reread) it — Now. Particularly because this amount of data will continue to grow.  Facebook is unleashing a new feature — the ability to upload any photo taken on your phone right to a private page on facebook.  It may seem like a good idea, saving you the hassle of uploading it on your own time.  But like anything, there’s a reason Facebook makes it available for free.  Check out this article for the details:  Facebook Makes A Huge Data Grab By Aggressively Promoting Photo Sync