Facebook‘s biggest and boldest move to date was announced last week at its f8 conference. Timelineis a complete overhaul of Facebook profiles and changes the way user behavior is reflected and shared across one’s network, or social graph. In essence, Facebook expects users to be active participants in the social web, actively sharing thoughts, photos, and more but also sharing semi-passively. What you’re listening to, reading, discovering and discussing across many websites can now be automatically archived on one’s Facebook timeline and published in real time to the Facebook News Feed.
Facebook has always pushed openness and sharing on its users and this latest innovation is bound to spark concern among users who wish to maintain significant privacy controls over their profile and presence. For users that embrace the increasingly open and social nature of the web, the distracting nature of Facebook is about to multiply exponentially.
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)
An interesting request appeared on my desk this morning to put the 2007, Danish-produced video Good Copy, Bad Copy onto DVD. I was surprised I haden’t seen it yet — it’s quite good, and includes interviews with Girl Talk and Danger Mouse, music by RJD2, Santogold and more. Entertaining! Check it. Oddly, it doesn’t appear to explicitly be Creative Commons licensed or otherwise (which under U.S. law indicates that it is “all rights reserved” by default) however it is available for download in multiple formats via Blip.tv.