About Face

tos-reversion

Originally posted 2009-02-18 10:41:19. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

The New York Times reports the latest on the Facebook “license” story:

After a wave of protests from its users, the Facebook social networking site said on Wednesday that it would withdraw changes to its so-called terms of service concerning the data supplied by the tens of millions of people who use it. . . .

Earlier this month, Facebook deleted a provision from its terms of service that said users could remove their content at any time, at which time the license would expire. It added new language that said Facebook would retain users’ content and licenses after an account was terminated. . . .

In a Facebook posting on Wednesday, Mr. Zuckerberg said: “A couple of weeks ago, we revised our terms of use hoping to clarify some parts for our users. Over the past couple of days, we received a lot of questions and comments about the changes and what they mean for people and their information. Based on this feedback, we have decided to return to our previous terms of use while we resolve the issues that people have raised.”

The posting said the decision to return to previous terms was “the right thing for now.”

That covers it, right?   I no longer have to worry that Facebook will leverage my worldwide fame for its nefarious purposes after I finally grow up and delete my account forever.

Okay, I wasn’t really worried about that.  Then again, being an adult I’m not someone who’s posted dozens of pictures of himself hoisting brewskies, tangled up in piles of flesh or whatever, and neither are my “friends.”

But this does seem to be a prevalent practice among people who may some day realize that they want to be adults, too (i.e., college students), or at least that they may want to get a job somewhere.  Is that what’s animating the outrage?

It’s a good idea for Facebook users to keep an eye on the TOS issue (why does the Times call them “so-called terms of service”?), but it would seem to be an even better idea to keep an eye on how you present yourself on Facebook and what “intellectual” — and not so intellectual — “property” you are throwing up there in the first place.

Nothing that goes up on the Internet is ever private again, so no matter what the TOS do or don’t promise, responsible social networking remains the order of the day.  The best rule of thumb I can think of is this:  Even if, unlike me (yeah, my 71-year-old dad joined yesterday — Seward Park High School ’55 rules!), you won’t let your mom and dad “friend” you on FB… what would you want your profile to look like if they could see it anyway?

All of it?

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Author:Ron Coleman

I write this blog.

6 Responses to “About Face”

  1. Michael Ross
    February 18, 2009 at 12:22 pm #

    I learned all I needed to know about social networking and it’s many potential dangers from my now 17 year old son, when he posted all of his personal info on his (bogus) myspace page when he was 13. He said he was “Jake, 17, from Briarcliff, and still listed his real date of birth.” Simple adolescent stupidity goes a long way.

  2. Joel G. MacMull
    February 18, 2009 at 12:35 pm #

    Let us not forget the collegiate origins of Facebook, where photos of hoisting brewskies and affixing one’s mouth to a bong were certainly foreseeable, if not overtly accepted.

    Indeed, it would seem that as Facebook has become a dominant player in this new world in which we now live, the maturation of its membership has not similarly advanced.

    With that said, an unfettered, exponential growth of membership in any club will always leave us asking questions about appropriate behavior. That is, until we all leave and form our own no-so-secret-societies.

  3. James H
    February 18, 2009 at 12:52 pm #

    I generally limit photos to “me standing with people” and “my cat.”

  4. jaymaster
    February 18, 2009 at 1:18 pm #

    This touches on an honest to goodness IP question I’ve been wondering about for some time.

    Suppose I post a photo on Facebook that has some marketable value. Now, not marketable in the sense of a Michael Phelps smoking a bong, but rather as a work of creative art, or maybe as a nice photo for an advertisement,.

    Have I just turned over the rights to that photo to Facebook? It sure sounds like that. What if I tag it with a copyright notice before I post it?

    The same goes for anything a person might write there. What if I create some sort of golden prose, and post it on my Facebook Wall?

    The same goes for comments on blogs in particular. I actually do read through the TOS at a lot of sites I frequent. The Pajama’s Media TOS for example, seem very clear that anything I might post there becomes their property.

    What say you, oh learned IP maven????

  5. February 22, 2009 at 6:03 pm #

    Sadly, most people would not have looked closely enough to notice the change in Facebook’s Terms of Service… looks them social networkers are doing a good job of looking out for each other

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  1. Ron Coleman - February 18, 2009

    LIKELY / CONFUSION About Face:
    The New York Times reports the latest on the Facebook “l.. http://tinyurl.com/bl2u66