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Facebook's New Terms of Service 426

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the are-we-really-worried-about-this dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Chris Walters writes about Facebook's new terms of service. 'Facebook's terms of service (TOS) used to say that when you closed an account on their network, any rights they claimed to the original content you uploaded would expire. Not anymore. Now, anything you upload to Facebook can be used by Facebook in any way they deem fit, forever, no matter what you do later. Want to close your account? Good for you, but Facebook still has the right to do whatever it wants with your old content. They can even sublicense it if they want.'" Oh no! Now they'll be able to license your super flair goblin poke 25 tag history!
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Facebook's New Terms of Service

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  • Uh, yeah! (Score:4, Informative)

    by cosmocain (1060326) on Monday February 16, 2009 @10:12AM (#26871691)
    There's an ancient proverb describing the evolution of those ToS:

    You get what you paid for.

  • by penix1 (722987) on Monday February 16, 2009 @10:26AM (#26871839) Homepage

    if you don't want your drunk, party, family reunion, college, work and so on photos being used as leverage against you in any way someone can find fitting, you still have the option of not posting them.

    That may be true but it doesn't stop me from posting that picture of you at the party with a lampshade over your head naked as a jaybird screwing that goat does it? Worse, it doesn't stop me from tagging that image "Anonymous Coward screwing around at the party. A must see" and allowing Facebook to index it.

  • It seems that.... (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 16, 2009 @10:28AM (#26871867)

    even though they have made this change to their Terms of Service (and you've agreed to arbitration), you could still prevent this from applying to you (since users were not notified of this change in ToS). An example of such a case can be found at http://www.groklaw.net/articlebasic.php?story=20070729165004428 [groklaw.net].

  • Re:Current users? (Score:5, Informative)

    by gEvil (beta) (945888) on Monday February 16, 2009 @10:30AM (#26871885)
    How will they get agreement from current users? Does the TOS pops out the next time they login during the implementation?

    From the first paragraph in the TOS:

    We reserve the right, at our sole discretion, to change or delete portions of these Terms at any time without further notice. Your continued use of the Facebook Service after any such changes constitutes your acceptance of the new Terms.

  • by Moraelin (679338) on Monday February 16, 2009 @10:30AM (#26871887) Journal

    There still was this thing called copyright, though. Anything you post is by default copyrighted to yourself. You don't even need to do anything special. So, yes, people could still have your photos in their browser's cache, but weren't legally allowed to do much with them.

    E.g., just because I saved your family photo on my hard drive, doesn't mean I can cut and paste your daughter's head into an ad for condoms, nor as an ad for Adult Friend Finder, nor on top of a porn-star's body and sell subscriptions to that site, nor pretty much anything else.

    A TOS which grants any entity full rights to your stuff, including to license it further, means pretty much just that: you forfeit any legal rights or recourses you might have had. If they want to use it for any purpose whatsoever, they can. You just gave them that right.

  • Re:Naive thinking... (Score:5, Informative)

    by commodore64_love (1445365) on Monday February 16, 2009 @10:31AM (#26871897) Journal

    Well I know one girl who was being stalked on Facebook.

    So she immediately closed her account, which the original TOS said would erase everything and thereby "disappear" from the stalker's attentions. But if facebook can keep information and publish it, that means the data could still be available to said stalker (or future stalkers), and YES that means the new policy causes harm.

    Or worse, an employer uncovering photos of your sorority sister drinking party which you thought was deleted, but facebook still has published somewhere publicly. Just a few months ago a local teacher was fired for an old college drinking photo from ~5 years ago.

  • That's been the rule of the Internet for nearly two decades.

    Is that why at the bottom of slashdot it says "Comments are owned by the Poster."?

    You are wrong in so many ways I can't even figure out where to begin. Luckily there is an excellent counterexample at the bottom of every slashdot page. Posting a comment like this to a site which explicitly states that you retain copyright proves only that you should never be allowed to post on slashdot again. Come back when you have two neurons to rub together.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 16, 2009 @10:44AM (#26872035)

    Actually, believe it or not, I think last year, I emailed Facebook directly and asked them to DELETE my account and they did it. When I tried to log in again, I could not, and the system didn't send me a confirmation email so I knew I was not "deactivated" either.

    When I re-registered, I supplied the same email I had used before, and there was no "this user is already registered" warning, so again, I SUSPECT my account may have been permanently deleted, but without a fully transparent system its impossible to know for sure.

  • Re:Current users? (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 16, 2009 @10:51AM (#26872111)
    I can't recall where (sorry), but I'm fairly sure I read of a case recently (in the UK) where such clauses where held to be invalid - you can't agree to allow a contract to be unilaterally changed without notice and a getout option.
  • Re:Current users? (Score:2, Informative)

    by F'Nok (226987) * on Monday February 16, 2009 @11:11AM (#26872359)

    It's explicitly so here in Australia too.
    Any contract changes and you have the right to void the contract if you disagree.

    If they don't want you to void contract (like phone companies that signed you up on a long term contract) they have the wonderful option to leave the contract exactly as it is. :)

  • Re:Current users? (Score:3, Informative)

    by neoform (551705) <djneoform@gmail.com> on Monday February 16, 2009 @11:12AM (#26872363) Homepage

    Any reasonable judge would throw such a clause out, especially given the sketchy way the TOS was agreed to in the first place.

    On their sign up form, below the "Sign Up" button is the text "By clicking Sign Up, you are indicating that you have read and agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.". I'm pretty sure that doesn't count as an legally binding agreement.

  • by mishehu (712452) on Monday February 16, 2009 @11:28AM (#26872569)
    And this is why I have my own installation of Gallery2 [menalto.com] on my own servers and I control access to the pictures. I like to retain the pictures in my control and not grant a license to any corporation to take my photos and use them in any way they feel. Sure, I get a lot of people I know bitching at me about the fact that they have to log in to my gallery site, because it's just not as easy as logging into facebook (really? sounds like they just had to do the same thing...). But no amount of complaining from them will get me to give in and put up my collection on facebook...
  • by ScentCone (795499) on Monday February 16, 2009 @11:34AM (#26872653)
    people who'd like to showcase their artwork/photography or something to their friends and family?

    It costs less than a half-caffe no-foam latte each month to have your own web site someplace (say, over at GoDaddy, etc) where you have complete control over that sort of thing. If you use Facebook to socially interact with your friends/family, just put up LINKS to where you actually park your artwork, and send them over for a look. If you put up high-enough resolution copies of your artwork/photography on a free service like Facebook - high enough res to be useful to third parties, mind you - and the work has significant value as web decor, stock, etc to other people - than you have only yourself to blame for being so cheap as to rely on Facebook to be the place where you exhibit it. Just get and use your own web space, and take control of the process for the pittance it costs.
  • by wesborgmandvm (893569) <wesborgman AT gmail DOT com> on Monday February 16, 2009 @11:37AM (#26872683) Homepage
    http://www.nytimes.com/2009/01/29/fashion/29facebook.html?sq=facebook&st=cse&scp=3&pagewanted=print [nytimes.com] January 29, 2009 Friends, Until I Delete You By DOUGLAS QUENQUA

    A PERSON could go mad trying to pinpoint the moment he lost a friend. So seldom does that friend make his feelings clear by sending out an e-mail alert.

    It's not just a fact of life, but also a policy on Facebook. While many trivial actions do prompt Facebook to post an alert to all your friends -- adding a photo, changing your relationship status, using Fandango to buy tickets to "Paul Blart: Mall Cop" -- striking someone off your list simply is not one of them.

    It is this policy that Burger King ran afoul of this month with its "Whopper Sacrifice" campaign, which offered a free hamburger to anyone who severed the sacred bonds with 10 of the friends they had accumulated on Facebook. Facebook suspended the program because Burger King was sending notifications to the castoffs letting them know they'd been dropped for a sandwich (or, more accurately, a tenth of a sandwich).

    The campaign, which boasted of ending 234,000 friendships, is history now -- Burger King chose to end it rather than tweak it to fit Facebook's policy -- but the same can hardly be said of the emerging anxiety it tapped. As social networking becomes ubiquitous, people with an otherwise steady grip on social etiquette find themselves flummoxed by questions about "unfriending" people: how to do it, when to do it and how to get away with it quietly.

    "If someone with more than 1,000 friends unfriends me, I get offended," said Greg Atwan, an author of "The Facebook Book," a satirical guide. "But if someone only has 100 friends, you understand they're trying to limit it to their intimates."

    Mr. Atwan, a recent graduate of Harvard (where Facebook got its start), recommends culling your friend list once a year to remove total strangers and other hangers-on. Keeping your numbers down gives you more leeway to be selective about whom you approve in the first place, he said.

    (While some people prefer the term "defriending," a quick survey of user-created groups on Facebook shows "unfriending" to be the more popular choice. A Facebook spokeswoman, Brandee Barker, said there was no officially preferred term.)

    Of course, not all unfriendings are equal. There seem to be several varieties, ranging from the completely impersonal to the utterly vindictive. First is the simple thinning of the herd, removing that grad student you met at a party two years ago and haven't spoken to since or that kid from middle school you barely remember.

    These were the people whom Steven Schiff, a news assistant at Vault.com, a career services Web site, sacrificed to get his Whopper.

    "I found there were quite a few people on my list that I'd never even spoken to, much less been close friends with," he said by telephone.

    Mr. Schiff, 25, said he experienced only the slightest guilt at eliminating those people. While he didn't feel the need to write to them individually to explain things, he did use his personal blog to address them en masse.

    "Let's be honest here, questionable Facebook friend," he wrote. "We've been keeping you around all this time because we'd just feel bad if you ever found out that you got the ax. It's just, well, up until now nobody offered us a Whopper in exchange for your feelings."

    This was just the sort of sentiment that Burger King and its advertising agency, Crispin Porter & Bogusky, were aiming to evoke when they set up the campaign. Burger King decided that it would do the talking for this article rather than its agency and delegated the task to Brian Gies, a vice president of marketing who said he was not a member of Facebook and therefore had not participated in the "Whopper Sacrifice."

    Mr. Gies explained the marketing team's thinking about Facebook. "It s

  • Re:Woh Wo (Score:5, Informative)

    by Skreems (598317) on Monday February 16, 2009 @11:38AM (#26872699) Homepage
    Sure they can. They have more lawyers than you do.
  • Re:Naive thinking... (Score:5, Informative)

    by Culture20 (968837) on Monday February 16, 2009 @11:55AM (#26872905)
    You joke about this, but FB was using under-aged girls in suggestive poses in an Eharmony ad. They removed them after being informed, but it shows they have some QC issues in marketing and legal.
  • by gillbates (106458) on Monday February 16, 2009 @01:32PM (#26874249) Homepage Journal

    But it is probably valid. The courts have found that cell phone contracts, which allow the company to later determine terms of billing, are valid.

  • by PeanutButterBreath (1224570) on Monday February 16, 2009 @02:01PM (#26874627)

    If they managed the program with a Facebook application, any user who signed up would have given the application full run of their friends list. I suspect that the application itself was used to execute the defriending.

  • by PeanutButterBreath (1224570) on Monday February 16, 2009 @02:04PM (#26874667)

    Cynics with few friends and seething disdain for for people in general are not Facebook's target audience.

  • Re:Current users? (Score:3, Informative)

    by sumdumass (711423) on Monday February 16, 2009 @02:57PM (#26875341) Journal

    While that might be or seem how they planned it, they have to give you an obvious way to opt out. You can't trick people into compliance to some arbitrary rule that takes something from them. You can't trick people into losing copyright or any right protected by laws.

    Now please don't confuse that with people who don't do due diligence and fail to read or understand the contracts they participate in. that's an entirely different story altogether.

  • by vadim_t (324782) on Monday February 16, 2009 @07:13PM (#26879101) Homepage

    Congrats, a show of lack of understanding the problem, bad coding, and SQL injection.

    1. Databases can do what you've shown automatically, with one single DELETE from one table, cascading to the rest. The problem, however, is that when you have millions of users, tables are big, and deletion can take considerable time. Perhaps one table is a multi-million row log table that is not indexed by user_id.

    2. Bad coding in that you dangerously assume that user_id always refers to the same thing in every table. For user_id specifically it might, but for other names it may not be. This kind of coding will backfire badly the moment some other programmer adds an user_id column with a different purpose.

    3. Very likely SQL injection due to no validation on $user_id and concatenation of a SQL query. My $user_id happens to be "0 OR 1=1", say bye to your database.

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