Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Facebook, terms of service and your data.

The blogosphere is buzzing about Monday's changes to Facebook’s terms of use. Under both the old and new rules, members grant Facebook a license to use content “on or in connection with the Facebook Service or the promotion thereof.” But the revised agreement, implemented with no warning or user consent, eliminates language saying this license would “automatically expire” if content were removed from the site. The issue of who controls the data posted to the site is a massive gray area that continues to evolve as Internet companies and consumers shape social norms of how to define trust in the digital age and share their lives through new technology.

Facebook already knows your age, education and employment data, it has seen your wedding pictures - and anything else you have decided to post. The key question is, do consumers understand what can happen to their data? Privacy experts often warn that the notion that consumers can control the content they post online is illusory. Yet, most users don’t bother reading terms of service or question a company’s intentions when they sign up for a new site. Most of us just trust the vendor to do a good job and protect our data. In response to the uproar Facebook Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg said, “We wouldn’t share your information in a way you wouldn’t want. The trust you place in us as a safe place to share information is the most important part of what makes Facebook work.” I hope so. Zuckerberg's note to users is here.

1 comment:

David Booker said...

In response to overwhelming opposition, Facebook has reversed its revision to its Terms of Service. This was posted on everyone's page this morning:

"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. For more information, visit the Facebook Blog."