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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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  • Current users? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by carlvlad (942493) on Monday February 16, 2009 @10:09AM (#26871661)
    How will they get agreement from current users? Does the TOS pops out the next time they login during the implementation?
    • Re:Current users? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by echucker (570962) on Monday February 16, 2009 @10:28AM (#26871873) Homepage
      Five bucks says that the current TOS already contains a clause that they can change it without prior notice. The users will never know.
      • Re:Current users? (Score:5, Interesting)

        by drinkypoo (153816) <martin.espinoza@gmail.com> on Monday February 16, 2009 @10:40AM (#26871985) Homepage Journal

        I'm a little sketchy on this one, can they actually do this? I mean, the users signed up under the expectation that copyright law would be honored. I don't think that they actually have a legal leg to stand on here. You can change the TOS so that new material uploaded will be owned by Facebook, but changing the TOS and expecting that to change the copyright on a lot of media retroactively? I only pray that this is what kills facebook so I can stop hearing people rant about how great it is and how I should join.

        • by Zashi (992673) on Monday February 16, 2009 @11:35AM (#26872663) Homepage Journal

          I only pray that this is what kills facebook so I can stop hearing people rant about how great it is and how I should join.

          I'm an atheist, so forgive the expression.

          Amen.

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by Culture20 (968837)

          I'm a little sketchy on this one, can they actually do this? I mean, the users signed up under the expectation that copyright law would be honored. I don't think that they actually have a legal leg to stand on here. You can change the TOS so that new material uploaded will be owned by Facebook, but changing the TOS and expecting that to change the copyright on a lot of media retroactively? I only pray that this is what kills facebook so I can stop hearing people rant about how great it is and how I should join.

          FB was already gambling that old users who no longer have accounts wouldn't know their content is being used for internal advertising, etc (since they no longer have accounts with FB), so now they're just taking the next step of saying they own you (they say they can use or relicense your _likeness_ , not just your original content, forever and ever). You read the ToS and object? Well, you had to use FB to cancel your account since there's no external email, phone, snailmail contacts, so they own your stuf

          • Re:Current users? (Score:4, Interesting)

            by King_TJ (85913) on Monday February 16, 2009 @12:34PM (#26873413) Journal

            I guess I'm having a tough time wrapping my head around why I should really care too much about this, though?

            I've had a Facebook acct. for a little while now (only "social networking" type site I ever really got into using), and the thing is FREE. I assume they ARE using me and my info as an advertising/marketing tool in some way, or else they wouldn't generate enough revenue to justify keeping it online.

            If you post any original content there you believe is of enough "value" so you'd be upset if they got to keep it after you left? Then I'd say YOU were the one being foolish, using their system as its distribution point in the first place!

            • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

              by l3prador (700532)
              I've uploaded a lot of my photos to facebook for friends to be able to see. Am I foolish to think that they shouldn't have rights to use my photos any way they want after I leave? Flickr is free. Does Flickr have rights to use people's photos even after they close their account?
        • by ShatteredArm (1123533) on Monday February 16, 2009 @12:04PM (#26873047)
          Facebook is great. You should join!
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by neoform (551705)

        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.

    • 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.

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

        by Aladrin (926209) on Monday February 16, 2009 @10:33AM (#26871925)

        Yes, but if you discontinue use and disagree with the current terms, can you get them to delete you like they would under the old ones?

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

          by French Mailman (773320) on Monday February 16, 2009 @10:45AM (#26872041)

          You will have to log in first in order to delete your account. So either log in now, which constitutes use of Facebook after the TOS have been published, and FB will keep the content you're about to delete, or never log in again and leave your content online for FB to do whatever it wants with it.

          Facebook: helping you give away your privacy since 2003!

          • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

            by sumdumass (711423)

            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.

        • Yes, but if you discontinue use and disagree with the current terms, can you get them to delete you like they would under the old ones?

          Good question. For some reason the cynic in me says that you'd need to contact them or fill out a special form requesting it. Of course, that contact info or form would only be accessible after you've logged in, thereby triggering the acceptance of the new TOS.
      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward
        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:5, Insightful)

        by neoform (551705) <djneoform@gmail.com> on Monday February 16, 2009 @11:14AM (#26872389) Homepage

        Your continued use of the Facebook Service after any such changes constitutes your acceptance of the new Terms.

        Well golly, that clause should hold up well in court.

        That's like McDonald's posting up a sign on a random wall in small print "by eating our food you agree not to sue us for any reason".

        • by LoadWB (592248) on Monday February 16, 2009 @11:55AM (#26872897) Journal

          Actually, it would be more like a sign on the McDonald's door saying, "By entering this door, you agree to any terms posted within."

          Or better yet, "By parking in our parking lot, you agree to be bound to any terms presented."

          I have always wanted to put a sign on my front door which says, "By ringing my door bell, you agree to be squirted with a fully-loaded SuperSoaker, confronted by an angry naked man, or some combination thereof."

      • Re:Current users? (Score:4, Insightful)

        by Carewolf (581105) on Monday February 16, 2009 @11:20AM (#26872471) Homepage

        Fortunately that is a completely invalid contract point. You can not wish for more wishes, and a contract one side can change without notice or renegotiation is not a valid contract.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 16, 2009 @10:12AM (#26871683)

    It is a scam and a waste of time.

  • 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.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by vikstar (615372)

      I pay dearly to use Facebook. It is definatelly not free. Try adding an app and you'll see the garbage pit of advertising that has soaked into Facebook while you scan your entire monitor to find the "skip it" or "no thanks, just add it" link in 6 pt font, narrowly missing the "Continue" button that is strategically embedded into the commercial.

      If it has advertising, it's not free... downloading the advertising media is using up your ISP bandwidth, besides the work required to dodge or not pay attention to t

  • Naive thinking... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Shrike82 (1471633) on Monday February 16, 2009 @10:13AM (#26871701)
    Anyone who seriously thought that closing their Facebook account would immediately result in everything they'd released onto the Internet magically being recalled and returned to the realms of privacy is probably accessing their account during their one-hour-a-day computing time in the loony bin.

    Who cares if Facebook can technically now use whatever you post forever. So could anyone who archived the page, or even took a screenshot. Not to mention that Facebook really aren't going to have the slightest interest in the average user, nor in using their content if and when they leave the site.
    • Re:Naive thinking... (Score:5, Interesting)

      by carlvlad (942493) on Monday February 16, 2009 @10:24AM (#26871815)
      I recall some time back on /. , when another social networking site (which I can't recall the name) did something like this. A fellow slashdoter comes up with an interesting approach by slowly replacing the contents with false data instead of deleting the account. I think that would work well providing the site does not maintain old archives.
    • And sure as hell - if you deleted your account it wouldn't have been deleted anyway. It just wears a "deleted"-flag so it isn't publicly displayed any more.
    • by ShieldW0lf (601553) on Monday February 16, 2009 @10:27AM (#26871847) Journal
      Not to mention that Facebook really aren't going to have the slightest interest in the average user, nor in using their content if and when they leave the site.

      You say that now... wait till they license 1,000,000 pictures in bulk at $0.01/image to someone who publishes gay pin-up calenders... including that picture of you at the beach with your shirt off when you were 17...
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Jeff DeMaagd (2015)

      Who cares if Facebook can technically now use whatever you post forever. So could anyone who archived the page, or even took a screenshot. Not to mention that Facebook really aren't going to have the slightest interest in the average user, nor in using their content if and when they leave the site.

      If that's true, then I'd like to know why they added that into the TOS. Why claim the rights for something they supposedly don't even want?

      • Re:Naive thinking... (Score:4, Interesting)

        by mysticgoat (582871) on Monday February 16, 2009 @10:47AM (#26872077) Homepage Journal

        On the face of it, this policy makes sense if FB realized that they could not assure timely clean-up when somebody quit. Too much risk of being sued.

        Avoidance of lawsuits is almost certainly the reason for their policy of taking ownership of anything posted to FB. It is an easy way, and perhaps the only way, of assuring that they can kill stuff that needs to be removed without being hassled with nuisance suits.

        I don't see any way of running something like FB without these kinds of policies. The only surprising thing here is that FB didn't realize it needed ownership forever until recently.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by drinkypoo (153816)

          On the face of it, this policy makes sense if FB realized that they could not assure timely clean-up when somebody quit. Too much risk of being sued.

          The only reason facebook would be unable to clean up material left by a given user in a timely fashion would be technical incompetence. We're not talking about a campus full of cork bulletin boards here, we're talking about a dynamic website backended by one or more databases. If they can't find all the data left by a given user, it's because they're completely incompetent big fucking idiots. So while that may be true, it's still no excuse.

          The only surprising thing here is that FB didn't realize it needed ownership forever until recently.

          They do NOT need ownership forever. They want it, and their customer

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by Dragonslicer (991472)

            The only reason facebook would be unable to clean up material left by a given user in a timely fashion would be technical incompetence. We're not talking about a campus full of cork bulletin boards here, we're talking about a dynamic website backended by one or more databases. If they can't find all the data left by a given user, it's because they're completely incompetent big fucking idiots. So while that may be true, it's still no excuse.

            And what database system do you use that can cascade deletes to the pile of tapes in the locked vault on the other side of the continent?

    • 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.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Chabil Ha' (875116)

      Not to mention that Facebook really aren't going to have the slightest interest in the average user, nor in using their content if and when they leave the site.

      Exactly. The people that really should be worried about what they put on there are those that stand to lose from the property they use to gain, ie corporations or entertainment personalities. I see this as a good thing. I find it annoying that grass-roots people form communities that later get raided by corporations looking to exploit and plunder them. I find it goofy when corps redirect you to "Go look us up on Facebook/MySpace/etc."

  • Politicians beware (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Knave75 (894961) on Monday February 16, 2009 @10:13AM (#26871705)

    Anyone who would aspire to a career in politics should find this very chilling I would imagine. Nobody cares that I wore a KKK costume to my last Halloween party, but I'm sure that the picture I posted of it would be worth a lot more when I am running for senate.

    (note: I didn't actually wear a KKK costume)

    • by internerdj (1319281) on Monday February 16, 2009 @10:25AM (#26871827)
      I'm curious how they can be sure it is you in the picture given the look of the full costume.
      • by cowscows (103644)

        Particularly for a public figure like a politician, an accusation doesn't necessarily have to be proven or even be true in order to have serious repercussions on one's career. Public opinion has much less rigorous standards than a court room, and opponents will generally be absolutely shameless in peddling negative stories about you, even if they know it's not true.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by gEvil (beta) (945888)
        I'm curious how they can be sure it is you in the picture given the look of the full costume.

        That's where the power of social networking comes into play. If a bunch of other people have pictures of him in the KKK costume and tag it with his name, it verifies that he was the one running around in the costume. Now, apparently there are ways you can try to remove your name from other people's pictures, but I don't know the specifics of it or how much of a pain it is. (I've managed to avoid using Facebook s
    • Not really. (Score:5, Insightful)

      by xstonedogx (814876) <xstonedogx@gmail.com> on Monday February 16, 2009 @10:33AM (#26871921)

      You hereby grant Facebook an irrevocable, perpetual, non-exclusive, transferable, fully paid, worldwide license (with the right to sublicense) to (a) use, copy, publish, stream, store, retain, publicly perform or display, transmit, scan, reformat, modify, edit, frame, translate, excerpt, adapt, create derivative works and distribute (through multiple tiers), any User Content you (i) Post on or in connection with the Facebook Service or the promotion thereof subject only to your privacy settings or (ii) enable a user to Post, including by offering a Share Link on your website and (b) to use your name, likeness and image for any purpose, including commercial or advertising, each of (a) and (b) on or in connection with the Facebook Service or the promotion thereof.

      I know it is hip to get all hysterical over personal information that is already "out there", but I've highlighted the part that really matters.

      In short, they can't do anything with it after you close your account that they couldn't do with it before you closed your account. And since you can change your privacy settings before you close your account this is pretty much a non-issue. Change all your settings to "Only My Friends", then remove all your friends.

      Really, people, the only difference here is that they don't do you the service of making all your data inaccessible to the people who could access it before. And why should they? That would be like slashdot removing all your old posts when you remove your account. Yes, I know it's "personal" data, but my guess is your 'friends' are more of a threat to your privacy than Facebook. After all, the only legal consequence for your friends sharing that information is that they can be kicked off Facebook for violating the terms of service.

  • by Fungii (153063) on Monday February 16, 2009 @10:16AM (#26871735)

    How exactly do they define "User Content"? It seems that's pretty important.

    Also - how well do these draconian EULAs hold up in court? Has there been a landmark test case yet? If their definition of "User Content" is a log of absolutely everything the user has uploaded/done then surely this must infringe on the user's right to privacy.

  • Data Protection Act (Score:5, Interesting)

    by SimonTheSoundMan (1012395) on Monday February 16, 2009 @10:18AM (#26871749) Homepage

    IANAL, but could someone, even if YANAL, please tell where this would come in under the UK's Data Protection Act?

    Surely they can't keep such information if you want it to be removed.

    • by Spad (470073)

      IIRC the Data Protection Act doesn't allow you to demand removal of personal data by someone that you have previously provided it to.

      They would, however, probably be required to provide you with a copy of any personal data that they hold on you at your request and they obviously wouldn't be allowed to provide it to anybody else without your express permission (Although the TOS may have granted them that permission when you signed up - whether it's legally binding or not is another matter entirely).

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Inda (580031)
        IANALLALLLAL - huh, bollocks.

        I use the DPA regularly to close accounts and it seems to work. Once the relationship with the company has ended, they no longer need the data. This is when it should be deleted.

        I beleive the gist of the law says "data may be kept as long as nessesary". Well, once the relationship has ended, it is no longer nessesary to keep the data. There are very few reasons to keep data after this.

        I've even demanded that a qualified and certified individual deletes the data, not a minium wag
  • Well gee... (Score:4, Funny)

    by Burgundy Advocate (313960) on Monday February 16, 2009 @10:18AM (#26871753) Homepage

    I guess I'll stop backing up my code to "My notes".

  • by Anonymous Coward

    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.

    I hate "internetlackofprivacyphobia" (hey I just made that up.. bush has tought us so much) ..no one cares about your life, get over yourself. maybe you can be on one of those "look at all the happy and social people you can meet on the internet" outdoors that only creeps believe in.

    • 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.

      • That's like saying laws against murder don't prevent you from murdering someone.

        You'll be in violation of Facebook's TOS (many times over from what I can tell, moreso if the AC has not also agreed to Facebook's Tos). You'll also be in violation of several laws and I imagine open to civil liability as well.

        Of course, you don't need Facebook (or even the internet) to distribute pictures (real or fake) of an AC having goat sex, so I tend to side with the GP on this one. A lot of the hysteria regarding privacy

    • by zappepcs (820751)

      Sorry, according to recently released Whitehouse records the term is "Intarwebsprivatelessnessscardycats" or AmericaHaters for short.

      Truly, people who posted pictures of themselves or their friends doing stupid things is just... well, human nature. Just look at the list of contenders for the Darwin awards. People are stupid, on the whole. I tried to tell my stepson that pictures of him dressed up like a gay looking movie character should not be posted to the Internet, even if it was just for Halloween. Seri

  • by gEvil (beta) (945888) on Monday February 16, 2009 @10:23AM (#26871809)
    I'm not really sure why this should come as a surprise to anyone. I mean, do you guys have any idea how valuable that data is to a marketer? For instance, just getting your name and some contact information (through legitimate means, of course) is worth about $20-25 to a typical marketer. That's why companies are so willing to give you special sign-up offers all the time (amazon, buy.com, reward programs, credit cards, banks, etc etc etc). As soon as you start tacking any bit of information onto that basic profile (purchasing habits, interests, etc) that value starts climbing through the roof.

    Now, think about what Facebook knows about everyone who's signed up. They have names and contact information. They have leisure-time activities. They have browsing profiles. They have entertainment interests. They have friend lists. And then throw that "25 things people don't know about me" thing that was going around a few weeks ago into the mix. Now they have that information, too. And people are just voluntarily giving all that info away. Of course they're going to hang onto that information (and sell it) if given the chance. What did you think they were going to do with it?
  • Oh noes! (Score:4, Insightful)

    by ErikZ (55491) * on Monday February 16, 2009 @10:24AM (#26871817)

    It's FACEBOOK.

    Frankly, I'm even willing to say "If you put it on Facebook, it doesn't have any value anyway."

    If you're such a creative genius, spend the 6$ per month for web hosting and make your own website.

  • by Rinisari (521266) * on Monday February 16, 2009 @10:27AM (#26871849) Homepage Journal

    Facebook doesn't have an actual "deletion" procedure for accounts. When someone wants to "delete" their account, it is simply disabled and their profile is no longer accessible, nor does it appear in search results. Their name will still appear in tagged photos and on wall posts, etc, but it will no longer be clickable.

    The only way to truly delete one's account is to remove oneself from all tags, delete all posts, remove all pictures and videos, and all other user stuff manually , then "delete" the account. The only way not to leave a trace is to bomb the footsteps.

    I think the reason this exists is because Facebook does not handle foreign key deletion well, if at all. The deletion of a user profile record would have to cascade down through every table in the database, removing every instance of that user. Who knows how long that could take. It's easier to simply mark the profile inactive and handle that in software.

    This license change allows Facebook to hold on to all of the stuff a user has uploaded even after the user has "deleted" his or her account. IMO, Facebook is using legal means instead of developing a technological solution to the problem.

  • Not Surprising (Score:5, Insightful)

    by MLCT (1148749) on Monday February 16, 2009 @10:27AM (#26871857)
    Times are getting tough - FB need to start to find ways of actually making money, and pretty sharpish as well. The "2.0" days of wandering along to a VC like an extra from Beavis and Butt-head and saying "uh, yeah, kewl, man - we, like, need some more cash - yeah, 2.0, social, yeah" aren't going to wash any more.

    Ad revenue is about to drop off a cliff (if it hasn't already), and loss making enterprises like FB - who's only revenue stream, other than VC funding rounds, was ad revenue - are going to have to start "monetizing" (what a lovely word for strip mining everything in sight) otherwise they will be in trouble.

    Never forget Beacon. Their silent implementation of that privacy nightmare gives a brief view of their true intents - and that was done in the days when people were throwing money at them and they were being valued as being bigger than GM. Now the economic hardships are starting to bite I am not at all surprised they have attempted this.
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by D Ninja (825055)

      and they were being valued as being bigger than GM.

      These days, the knitting that my grandmother sells at the yearly town fair is viewed as bigger than GM.

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

    by Anonymous Coward

    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].

  • grrrr. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by apodyopsis (1048476) on Monday February 16, 2009 @10:29AM (#26871879)

    well.. thats was FB says anyhow.

    but we have yet to see this tested in a court of law, and I rather think we will.

    after all, the bank could change their TOS to allow them to remove as much money from your account as they wanted - but they would soon be challenged in court and more importantly face a mass exodus.

    so at this time, I'll take this with a pinch of salt.

    besides, they are welcome to my trivial rantings and boring posts - its not like I would put anything important up on there.

    • by howman (170527)
      Ummmm... Banks can, and do... they use the money from your account to loan to other people or invest and give you interest for the ability to do so... Granted, they guarantee that your money is always there for you, so it actually isn't gone per say... Unless you are with BoM, or one of the other amazing institutions around Europe or America.
  • by Vandil X (636030) on Monday February 16, 2009 @10:32AM (#26871907)
    That's been the rule of the Internet for nearly two decades.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by drinkypoo (153816)

      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.

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by domatic (1128127)

        Parent's post is the practical reality even if it isn't the legal reality. There are no practical means to stop anyone from using uploaded information in any way they see fit. Sure you can sic lawyers on them but that is dicey enough in your own country much less any other.

      • by Zakabog (603757) <john@jmaug. c o m> on Monday February 16, 2009 @11:20AM (#26872477)

        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."?

        With respect to text or data entered into and stored by publicly-accessible site features such as forums, comments and bug trackers ("SourceForge Public Content"), the submitting user retains ownership of such SourceForge Public Content; with respect to publicly-available statistical content which is generated by the site to monitor and display content activity, such content is owned by SourceForge. In each such case, the submitting user grants SourceForge the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable, non-exclusive, transferable license to use, reproduce, modify, adapt, publish, translate, create derivative works from, distribute, perform, and display such Content (in whole or part) worldwide and/or to incorporate it in other works in any form, media, or technology now known or later developed, all subject to the terms of any applicable license.

        They MUST have that right, otherwise you could sue them for posting your comments, and your comments stay INDEFINITELY. If you delete your Slashdot account, your comments still stay archived online, so exactly what's so evil about the new ToS?

  • ...I've always asked those I know who are FB'ers; why? I can see the curiosity factor in looking for people that you know who have put their lives on Facebook for the viewing pleasure (i.e. to get laughed at) of others, but what in God's name goes through a person's mind when they rationalize this being a good idea? We are a very mixed up society where we'll scream bloody murder about our privacy rights being violated only to turn right around and willfully divulge our entire lives on FB and sites like i
    • Depends upon how you are using it as the usages of Facebook ranges all the way from "I'm on it all the time and I update my status every 15 minutes." to "I check it once a week and use it for networking and keeping in touch with people I knew back in school."

      Odds are the person that is using Facebook for networking isn't going to be too concerned with having any private information out there because they will likely not have much of it. However, the person that is always updating their status on Facebook
  • What about all of the 3rd party apps on Facebook that require your Gmail or Hotmail or whatever password? Don't get me wrong, giving anyone your e-mail password is just asking for it, but there are plenty of people who already have. What guarantee is there that their user info isn't being sold off to who ever? These days, a Gmail password is almost of good if not better than an SSN. Tax returns, notices from your creditors, all that fun stuff, virtually non deletable and waiting for exploitation.

  • by wesborgmandvm (893569) <wesborgman@gm a i l .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

    • by argent (18001)

      How does Burger King know you've unfriended someone?

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        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 IGnatius T Foobar (4328) on Monday February 16, 2009 @12:05PM (#26873049) Homepage Journal

    Seriously ... I'm sick and tired of hearing Facebook this, Facebook that, oh why don't you log on to Facebook, it's great and I'm meeting up with all these people ... sheesh. I've been to high school once already. I didn't like it, and I don't want to do it a second time, ok?

    Thankfully, the hype cycle is just about done and everyone will move on to something else soon. Don't believe me? It's just part of a cycle that's been going on for a long time. People moved from AOL, to Yahoo, to MySpace, to Facebook ... it'll continue to happen, right on schedule.

    And if that's not enough to convince you, consider the millions of teenagers who get online every year. The *last* thing they want to do is join the same online community that their parents are on! That's SO NOT COOL!!

    From a practical point of view, Facebook's "walled garden" approach has failed before. Just ask AOL. A site that requires that you totally immerse yourself in it just to get a feel for what it's about is not sustainable. A while ago I wanted to poke around just to see what all the fuss is about, only to find out that you had to create an account in order to do so. WTF? So I created a throw-away account with a fake name. Then I went to browse the profiles of people I knew were on Facebook, only to find out that you have to "friend" them in order to read their profiles, which would of course subject you to an incoming torrent of high school bullshit from everyone on their friends lists.

    No thanks. After seeing the way some people go into withdrawal if they don't check Facebook every 15 minutes, I'm happier than ever to NOT be a part of this particular clusterfuck. I want online tools that SAVE time, not CONSUME more and more of it.

    • by King_TJ (85913) on Monday February 16, 2009 @12:49PM (#26873633) Journal

      People like you don't "get it", honestly.

      I say that because I was one of them myself.

      I DO happen to agree with you about it being cyclical, though. That's given with practically anything out there. Even a basically "here to stay" type of web site such as eBay is more likely part of a longer boom/bust cycle. (I can remember when sites like Amazon auctions were every bit as good and viable a place to buy and sell as eBay. And eBay is steadily angering people with their changes to their feedback system, merger with PayPal and subsequent attempts to force its use for payments, etc.)

      But the thing is, I didn't care much for my high-school days either -- yet I *did* build up a list of former friends over the years who I lost track of. That tends to happen when people get married and have kids. They get so involved with "family", they don't have time to just hang out with all their old friends anymore -- and next thing you know? It's a holiday or something and they try to make contact, only to find out that friend has moved and they can't be reached.

      Facebook added a lot of "value" for me, giving me a way to re-connect with many of those people I had been wondering about for years. Yet, it still lets you keep them at "arm's reach" if you prefer. (EG. You can make them a "friend" online, allowing you to view their photos, status updates, etc. so you have a current idea of what they've got going on. But you don't have to invest the time required to start calling them on the phone or hanging out in person, which you might otherwise do as a thinly veiled excuse to collect that same info.)

      People can get addicted to anything, and Facebooks addicts are out there too. Myself? I check mine once every 1-2 days for a few minutes. It's a small investment of time to gather a lot of current info on people I'm curious about. Saves me more time than it wastes, really.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        People like you don't "get it", honestly.

        Having been online in one form or another for 27 years, I think it's safe to disregard allegations of ignorance. I've watched online communities come and go for decades. In that time I've learned that small, focused communities tend to have better longevity than those which attempt to be all things to all people. Facebook will be supplanted by someone or something that doesn't try to take over the world.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

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

  • by Animats (122034) on Monday February 16, 2009 @12:47PM (#26873603) Homepage

    That's a clause that only matters if Facebook is in decline. On the way up, the fate of the information about departed users doesn't matter. On the way down, it matters a lot.

    Social networking sites have a life cycle, which is reflected in their long term traffic statistics. They open, they may become popular, the cool people move in, there's a herd effect that makes them grow more if they start to become popular, the losers move in, the cool people leave, growth starts to flatten, and then the long decline starts, usually leveling out at maybe a quarter of peak. This works just like cool nightclubs and restaurants. Anybody who goes out frequently in a major city knows this pattern.

    AOL, Geocities, EZboard, Salon, Nerve, Bebo, and Tribe all peaked years ago. Myspace peaked in early 2008, according to Alexa traffic stats. Facebook hasn't visibly peaked yet, but it looks like their management sees the inevitable coming and is getting ready.

    This is a hint that it's too late for Facebook to IPO. That had to happen on the way up, or it won't happen at all. There was much talk of a Facebook IPO in 2007 or 2008, but now the word is "2010, if ever". Probably never. They should have gone public earlier.

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