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Facebook Lets Advertisers Use Pictures Without Permission 260

Krokz sends in an LA Times piece that begins "A warning is bouncing through cyberspace today, landing on the Facebook statuses of many of the social networking site's users. The message: 'Facebook has agreed to let third party advertisers use your posted pictures without your permission.' It continues with a prescription of how you can protect your photos." The attention-grabbing incident in this furor involved a married woman, whose photo appeared in an ad for a dating service that was presented to her husband to view. Fortunately, both husband and wife had a sense of humor about it.
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Facebook Lets Advertisers Use Pictures Without Permission

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  • by jdigital ( 84195 ) on Saturday July 25, 2009 @06:02PM (#28822003) Homepage
    (From [])

    In the past couple of days, a rumor has begun spreading that claims we have changed our policies for third-party advertisers and the use of your photos. These rumors are false, and we have made no such change in our advertising policies. If you see a Wall post or receive a message with the following language or something similar, it is this false rumor:

    FACEBOOK has agreed to let third party advertisers use your posted pictures WITHOUT your permission.

    The advertisements that started these rumors were not from Facebook but placed within applications by third parties. Those ads violated our policies by misusing profile photos, and we already required the removal of those deceptive ads from third-party applications before this rumor began spreading. We are as concerned as many of you are about any potential threat to your experience on Facebook and the protection of your privacy. That's why we prohibit ads on Facebook Platform that cause a bad user experience, are misleading, or otherwise violate our policies. Along with removing ads, we've recently prohibited two entire advertising networks from providing services to applications on Facebook Platform because they were not compliant with our policies and failed to correct their practices.

  • by a whoabot ( 706122 ) on Saturday July 25, 2009 @06:08PM (#28822041)

    Read the terms of service [].

    When you sign up you agree to the terms of service, which clearly says you grant Facebook an unlimited, worldwide licence to use anything you post on Facebook. Unfortunately, no reads it!

  • by ghostis ( 165022 ) on Saturday July 25, 2009 @06:11PM (#28822073) Homepage

    Mod up please. /. really should check snopes/company blogs before posting summaries like this... :-/

  • by 1sockchuck ( 826398 ) on Saturday July 25, 2009 @06:12PM (#28822081) Homepage
    The ad network misbehavior that fueled this rumor was covered by VentureBeat [] in early June, when these networks were banned by Facebook.
  • by Vetala ( 1543063 ) on Saturday July 25, 2009 @06:20PM (#28822177)
    Okay, first off, the article has a follow-up posted at the top of it saying they made a mistake and were corrected. But for the interest of people who would rather read comments than articles, here's what I've been telling everyone on Facebook who keeps passing around this foolishness:

    First off, the claim that Facebook is allowing 3rd party advertisers to use people's photos isn't quite the case. In fact, Facebook Terms of Service ( state (section 10.2) "We do not give your content to advertisers."

    Yes, Facebook may pair up your name and profile photo with an ad that gets sent to your friends, and yes, that can be blocked with the option mentioned in the message going around (Settings->Privacy->"News Feed and Wall"->"Facebook Ads" and select "No One" - or this link might work to get you there faster, since I'm feeling useful [] )

    This is not, however, 3rd party advertisers using your photo. Section 15 of the advertising guidelines for Facebook ( state that an ad won't even be accepted if the advertiser is using photos for which they don't own copyright.

    Now for the useful: A Facebook application that has not been authorized by you or a friend cannot access any information about you other than what's in your public search listing. This means, though, that if you have a public search listing displaying your photo, an unscrupulous advertiser could get your profile photo.

    Any application you have authorized will be able to access information it requires to work. Definition of "requires to work" may vary. If you play a lot of 3rd party Facebook games, or do a lot of those quizzes going around, remember to check the Privacy Policies and Terms of Use for the application if your worried (or if you're really worried, don't do them).

    Any application your friends have authorized may be able to access any information about you (on behalf of your friend) that your friend can access. To limit what the applications can see, go to Settings->Privacy->Applications and go to the Settings tab (or have another link [] ). [] pointed out what more likely happened and downloadsquad corrected their position.

    And apparently, as jdigital noted already, even the official facebook blog says that's what happened. So yeah, if you've posted stuff online, somebody may take it and abuse it.. but no, it wasn't Facebook's doing in this case. RTF....Retraction?
  • by jdigital ( 84195 ) on Saturday July 25, 2009 @06:30PM (#28822237) Homepage
    If you read the entire blog post you'll see that they describe that option fully. When enabled, it lets your friends see whether you have joined a Fan or Group page. Completely tame and clearly explained.
  • by Z80xxc! ( 1111479 ) on Saturday July 25, 2009 @06:44PM (#28822347)

    Actually, facebook modified their terms recently, such that their rights to materials you upload expire if you choose to terminate your facebook account. I agree that it's still not good to grant them that right at all, even if it's not forever though.

    What I tend to do is this: photos of people I know and which people will likely want to be tagged in and discuss I upload to facebook. Photos of scenery, vacation photos (without people), wildlife photography, etc, I post to Flickr. Facebook has an option on your wall settings to post a blurb to your profile when you upload photos to Flickr. People still see the link and get to see the photos, but facebook doesn't get rights they don't deserve, and you can apply a CC license.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday July 25, 2009 @07:02PM (#28822503)

    Yea, grant Facebook and unlimited license, I would not consider this license to extend to facebooks affiliates/advertisers.

    FFS. I fyou are going to comment on the terms of service, you should at least read the terms of service:

    you grant us a non-exclusive, transferable, sub-licensable, royalty-free, worldwide license to use any IP content that you post on or in connection with Facebook

  • by Vetala ( 1543063 ) on Saturday July 25, 2009 @07:22PM (#28822633)
    Well, actually, they do say a "[...] transferable, sub-licensable [...] license", so yes, they are asking to extend it to other people (otherwise applications couldn't use it if they were (for example) posting your profile photo in a competitive ladder, or perhaps Facebook uses a 3rd party caching server).

    HOWEVER, they do also say that it is "subject to your privacy and application settings" which puts a fair limit on what they are allowed to do with it - basically it says who they or anyone to whom they sub-license can only use it in ways that your privacy settings allow (which along with all their other terms basically says that you don't need to worry about advertisers using - or even having - your information unless the advertiser isn't following the rules).
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday July 25, 2009 @07:37PM (#28822723)
    It's just an oblique reference to an oldie the moderator didn't know.

    Spoiler []:

    The song speaks, in three verses and three choruses, of a man who, disenchanted with his current relationship, reads the personals and spots an ad that catches his attention: the ad of a woman who is seeking a man who, among other things, must like piña coladas. Intrigued, he writes back and arranges to meet with the woman "at a bar called O'Malley's", only to find upon the meeting that his new lover is his current lover. The song ends on an upbeat note, showing that the two lovers realized they have more in common than they suspected, and that they do not have to look any further than each other for what they seek in a relationship. This rekindles their relationship.

  • Re:In other news (Score:3, Informative)

    by betterunixthanunix ( 980855 ) on Saturday July 25, 2009 @07:59PM (#28822829)
    Facebook's entire reason for existing is collecting advertising information and making advertisements more effective. Why would you act like it is terribly misguided to declare that by using Facebook, people are asking to be subjected to this kind of stupidity? The entire setup of Facebook is designed to extract as much information about you and how you interact with your friends as possible.
  • Re:Sense of humor? (Score:5, Informative)

    by Lumpy ( 12016 ) on Saturday July 25, 2009 @08:52PM (#28823169) Homepage

    Actually no. If you find one of your photos used in an ad, contact that company asking for $30,000.00 for use of the photo.

    If they dont, Pull a DMCA takedown on their ass via their ISP.

    Honesty, people need to use the same scumbag tactics these companies use.

  • by zuperduperman ( 1206922 ) on Saturday July 25, 2009 @10:09PM (#28823577)

    This is the real problem with Facebook. They've cleverly engineered a system which *allows* you to control your privacy but then seduces or fools you into giving it up by making settings so obtuse, difficult to find and anticipate that almost nobody successfully does.

    Example: I thought I had my facebook settings locked down pretty good. I turned off access of just about everything to anybody except direct friends. A few months later, my birthday comes around and all my friends start sending me happy birthday messages via Facebook! Turns out, there is / was a completely different location for the control of your birth date privacy. Not only did my friends see my birthday, but half of them had installed some kind of 'notify about your friends birthday' application so my birth date (something used commonly as security verification data) was now spread into some unknown number of 3rd party applications around the globe. There is basically no way to know now who on the planet might have gathered my birth date, be correlating it with other data and on selling it for the purposes of identity theft. It's just one small example, but this is everywhere in Facebook.

  • Re:Holy Cow! (Score:2, Informative)

    by KronosReaver ( 932860 ) on Sunday July 26, 2009 @12:05AM (#28824199)

    You know cows are female?

    Not only female, but Adult Females who have already given birth to 1-2 Calves (depending on region).

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday July 26, 2009 @12:38AM (#28824361)
    Link is a GNAA "attack" site. I haven't bothered to look more into it, but enter at own risk!
  • Re:Hmmm (Score:3, Informative)

    by Quantos ( 1327889 ) on Sunday July 26, 2009 @03:43AM (#28825109)
    This is bullshit, as usual, you can disable this. It's in the privacy settings. If you leave it open your friends see you as an advertisement. No news here, move along....

Can anyone remember when the times were not hard, and money not scarce?