I’m always hesitant to grant permission to aggregator sites to redistribute my content, I mean I license my entire site under a Creative Commons License although sometimes those “attribution” or “non-commercial” bits get lost in the shuffle.
One thing I never did was republish my content on Facebook as well, knowing that they would probably somehow determine they have the right to whatever I post so I thought it best to avoid that mess. Turns out with the newly updated Facebook Terms of Service this month, it was a wise decision on my part — but does it even matter?
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. [Consumerist] — [see also: Slashdot]
Thing is, you can still delete content before you close your account (should you choose to do so) but it’s still a pretty sticky situation for many.
Some may argue that Google republishes and spreads content ie. through image searches but the main thing is that I’m linked, credited, and remain the owner — no matter how far out into the webosphere things may fly.
It’s been said before but I think everyone should pretty much know by now that once you upload something to the internet, it can travel around the world millions of times (getting saved and redistributed along the way) before you even wake up and wonder why the heck you took that photo last night.
Update: From the Facebook blog…
In reality, we wouldn’t share your information in a way you wouldn’t want. The trust you place in us as a safe place to share information is the most important part of what makes Facebook work. Our goal is to build great products and to communicate clearly to help people share more information in this trusted environment.
We still have work to do to communicate more clearly about these issues, and our terms are one example of this. Our philosophy that people own their information and control who they share it with has remained constant. A lot of the language in our terms is overly formal and protective of the rights we need to provide this service to you. Over time we will continue to clarify our positions and make the terms simpler…
… “There is no system today that enables me to share my email address with you and then simultaneously lets me control who you share it with and also lets you control what services you share it with.” – CEO, Mark Suckerberg [Read more]
Update Feb 17, 2009: Due to the outcry, they have reverted to the previous TOS.