On February 4 Facebook revised their Terms of Service, removing a clause stating that user content would no longer be under license to Facebook.
Well, now the terms indicate that anything you ever upload or share to your facebook profile — regardless of whether your account is active — is Facebook’s property to do whatever they want with.
UPDATE: Facebook did an about face and reverted to its previous ToS per a blog post on feb 17.
Did anyone receive notification to review the new Terms of Service before someone finally stumbled upon it — an outrageous 11 days after the fact? What if major publishers decide to boycott by removing “share on facebook” links? That’s not happening, not with the increasing traffic these blogs/sites receive via Facebook referrals.
This is the Internet, folks, and this is nothing new and hardly a surprise from Facebook — it was only a matter of time that they reworded the terms of content ownership (check out my previous posts on Facebook privacy here, here, and here).
If you’re someone who openly shares details and content on the Internet (as I do), you’re only fooling yourself if you believe said content cannot be “stolen” or used against you. Think you’re pre-February 4th content is protected (if you have since deleted your Facebook profile? Not likely. Facebook is the model for a walled garden online network. Now we’ll see how far they go with their power to abuse, sell, sublicense and manipulate user data and content.
The key passages of the ToS are below (new ToS / old ToS)
This kind of caught me by surprise — I’ve never seen it — even in the small print of a Facebook App — where adding an application to your profile equivocates signing away your likeness to said app for use in an add on your friends’ profiles. Here’s my friend Patrick Neeman of Speaktech being totally USED and I wonder if he even knows it?
Is this unique to the “Friends for Sale” App being advertised here or is this a standard policy allowed by developers who build Facebook Apps? Seems a little much to me… What do you think?
While browsing ESPN Mobile on my mobile phone, I’ve been hit lately with text ads teasing me to “Get WikiMobile on Your CU500!”
My first instinct was to clickthru. I love Wikipedia and use it all the time. I’ve contributed content. I’ve also donated to the Wikimedia Foundation, the non-profit that keeps the juggernaut wiki afloat. I’m also surprised I’ve never used it on my phone considering how adaptable it is to small text screens, ala Snap Previews WikiShots.
But when I click through, I see “Get Wikimobile, Cool Tool, $2.99 per month.” Now I am aware of a very cool-looking wiki production tool called WikiMobile sold from an EU based site. This is clearly different, as you can see from the teaser-text at right. Of course, the fact that I’m supposed to want to by $3 so I can find out who “Britney’s exes” were is where most 3G mobile-Web-browsing Americans are going to feel insulted. For me, its just depressing to confirm that the open source, mob-managed, infinitely free and user-supported Wikipedia is being exploited by AT&T.
Does AT&T’s WikiMobile have anything to do with Wikimedia other than abusing Wikipedia’s GNU license to republish the content for profit? I can’t find anything anywhere stating that Wikimedia is complicit in this agreement and/or receives a cut of the profits. Assuming that if it smells like bullshit and looks like it, it may as well darn be, I implore Wikimedia to make Wikipedia publicly available as optimized for the mobile Web. Hey Colbert, you got my back?
PostScript: While I do subscribe to AT&T Wireless, I am not a DSL customer and am not subject to those sketchy, infringing terms of service. That said, you’re welcome to terminate my service, T, if’n you really are that stupid.