2.16.2009

Facebook: All Your Data Are Belong to Us


For anyone using Facebook, and important notice:

As per the new TOS for Facebook...all content and data (YOUR content and data) on Facebook.com servers is now owned under the auspice of an all-encompassing licensing agreement with FB that doesn't expire even if you quit. They even retain the right to sublicense your content. Even if you take content down, if its been archived on their servers they can still use it.

This, of course, has everything to do the Facebook Connect (obvs)--- especially since they just lifted the 24-hour caching limit of 3rd party sites

Read: FBC -enabled sites can now (probably) store, display and use your data too.


But here's an important question I have...what about all the brands on Facebook? Will they have special concessions made here? Surely Facebook cannot claim the right to use copyrighted, branded material forever and forever in any manner they may so choose? Can they?

Granted, most people don't read the TOS of every service they use online...and generally I'm all about Free the Data! But this is not "freeing" anything, its simply giving more control to FB and once again, the end user cannot capitalize on their very valuable data (and lets be real, for all intense and purposes, its your identity data). So here's one very important part of the new TOS:

"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." ("post on or in connection with the Facebook Service = FBC sites)

And TWO IMPORTANT NEW PIECES TO CONSIDER:

"You may remove your User Content from the Site at any time. If you choose to remove your User Content, the license granted above will automatically expire, however you acknowledge that the Company may retain archived copies of your User Content."


"The following sections will survive any termination of your use of the Facebook Service: Prohibited Conduct, User Content, Your Privacy Practices, Gift Credits, Ownership; Proprietary Rights, Licenses, Submissions, User Disputes; Complaints, Indemnity, General Disclaimers, Limitation on Liability, Termination and Changes to the Facebook Service, Arbitration, Governing Law; Venue and Jurisdiction and Other."


So....GOOD NEWS FOR FACEBOOK CONNECT ENABLED SITES and realizing full potential to leverage FB user data in content serving, product merchandising (and can we say a Facebook Connect ad-network makse even more sense now?)....BAD NEWS FOR USERS...

Next stop...maybe they WILL start selling our data as one, er,blogger has proposed...

14 comments:

Weave said...

Facebook just became that college girl- or boyfriend who's super-hot but treats you like shit. They've crossed a boundary for me and I'm deciding if I still want to play or not. How they can justify SUCH a self-interested approach is completely beyond me.

The recession brings out people's true colors, and theirs is officially a cross between Hangover Black and Baby Poop Brown.

Noah Brier said...

"including by offering a Share Link" ... Does that mean Facebook has a right to all New York Times data?

alisa leonard-hansen said...

@Noah, good point...and what's more is that now that there are open APIs for shared links and status updates...does this mean that FB can license these to 3rd parties as well? And to your point, what if those links are some other publishers or content providers?

Lars said...

I'm sorry to say that: I just shared this link on facebook, so the content doesn't belong to you anymore...

Nick said...

who cares. do you really think facebook gives a shit about photos your moron friend took of you on friday night with a jagerbomb in ur hand. no.

people get so worked up over stuff like this, but then forget completely that their life is pointless and nobody gives a shit- which is the precise reason why facebook is so lame in the first place.

alisa leonard-hansen said...

@Nick, my commmenters don't normally have such salty remarks, but I suppose if I could translate for the industry folks your point:

Most of the content on FB is not worth redistribution or sub-licensing so user shouldn't fret so much.

Did I get that right?

You make a good point, but that said it should be noted that this new TOS is an obvious shift due to Facebook Connect...which, should the wild imaginings of digital strategist come true, 3rd party sites could now potentially merchandize product or serve dymanic content to you based on your content and user data expressed in your profile. I suppose this may be harmless enough (and I have even argued that it could enhance user experience), but essentially this TOS gives those 3rd party FBC sites the ability to store your data-- something previously no allowed. Which, in all honesty is a big deal.

alisa leonard-hansen said...

please excuse the typos in my last comment

Brian said...

The real concern is for creative types. If I read this correctly, if you write a song or make a short video or take a great photo, by posting it to Facebook, they essentially co-own it. They can even distribute it! Insane.

Ironically, one way to get around this would be to have a friend post it on Facebook for you. Since that friend wouldn't own the IP, Facebook wouldn't be able to leach a license from them.

Gabriele said...

Hello, U've 260 mail in fb post, u don't see the post?!
bye
gabriele

Nick said...

dont you think they were storing this data to begin with? nothing is private on the internet, especially when you open yourself up on facebook.

if people really want privacy, they should not be online whatsoever.

this sounds like the same kind of hype over *cookies* (gasp!) that there were over a decade ago. now? nobody cares...

Nick said...

also, i wasn't trying to be salty.. i just think that when people get all worked up over facebook that it's kind of laughable.

like "20,000 strong for hating facebook!" group or "national let's not use facebook" day or etc.. people invest too much time/energy in complaining about how much time/energy they spend on facebook or about how much they haaaate facebook when it's pretty apparant that without it they'd lack a social existence whatsoever. this isn't a specific attack on you or your article- which is fine- by any means, it may not even be related, i just find a lot of problems with our generations phony identity crises. if that makes any sense.

excuse my incessant ranting.

Christina | AmiExpat.com said...

Facebook just made it a lot easier for me to quit. I have been upset about the whole no breastfeeding photos, but topless chicks are okay policy. However, I wasn't going to make a difference in their minds and my friends all use FB to keep in touch. Now though, as a blogger who was (until today) importing all my blog posts to Facebook, this is an even bigger issue and is completely scary.

What happens to the really big time bloggers and podcasters who have been uploading their writings and videos? They won't anymore, that's for sure!

alisa leonard-hansen said...

@Nick

I think you are missing a very crucial point here and it relates to Facebook Connect...

Up until now, yes, FB has been storing our data and laying claims to rights to it, that part is true.

What is so different about this new TOS is that 1) they have the right to sublicense our data 2) its theirs even after we quit (the termination clause was deleted from this version).

Not only that, but it is one thing to lay claim to rights to content, and entirely another to actually be able to then license and redistribute it.

We're also not talking about COOKIES...which only APPROXIMATE identity...we are talking about actual user data...the data that you upload to FB's servers can now be served (read: sublicensed) to a myriad of participating 3rd parties (via Facebook Connect) and used however these parties see fit.

User data isn't frivolous, its worth a lot...potentially something in the ballpark of $585 billion a year (if you consider Experian sells its customer data to market researchers to the tune of that price each year)...

Brian said...

Nick, this isn't a privacy issue. It's an intellectual property issue. Now, granted, much of what is on Facebook isn't worth much, but there are a host of independent authors and musicians who do use Facebook to get their writing or images out there, or even just share it with their friends.

According to this TOS, posting it on Facebook essentially means losing control of whatever you posted. For most of Facebook's users, sure, big deal. But a lot of us need to at least be aware of this TOS and act appropriately.

My response isn't "Boycott Facebook, it's evil", it's "Be careful about posting things you've created on Facebook".