what's mine is mine and what's mine is their's too

[Update - February 18, 2009: In response to the weekend's furor, Facebook has decided to go back to their previous Terms of Service. They will be developing a new TOS, this time with the input of their users. For information on what this will mean to you as a user of FB and have your say, check out the newly-created Facebook Bill of Rights and Responsibilities group.]

Are you planning on putting your kids pictures on Facebook today? Well, STOP RIGHT NOW!!!

Don't do it... unless you want Facebook to own rights to it forever.

Yes, just like the Motrin kerfuffle of a while back, there was another BIG kerfuffle over the weekend, this one having to do with Facebook's NEW Terms of Service.

In a nutshell, as of February 4, 2009, everything we put on our profiles, pictures of our families, notes we post, personal information, etc., etc. is free for Facebook to keep and use, even if we decide to remove that stuff and close our accounts.

As soon as I found out about it, I went and removed all my blog posts and my blog feed from FB (to prevent future posts from getting ported over), but it's too late anyway, because I removed it AFTER February 4.
On my blog, my posts are protected by the Creative Commons Licence but as soon as it hits Facebook, that protection vanishes.

Yes, folks, Facebooks owns rights to my article about my teaching my kid not to fart at the dinner table -- in addition to all of my other stuff, of course.

Now, Facebook's reasoning behind this change is, for example, if you send a message to a friend, copies of it must be made to your friend and to your own "sent" box. FB needs the rights to make these copies so that, if you ever leave Facebook, your friend's copy wouldn't be erased.

Okay, that makes sense for messages -- but not for EVERYTHING ELSE.

I don't send my profile information to anyone. I put it in one spot, where it should be protected by my privacy settings. It should not appear anywhere else -- Facebook DOES NOT NEED to have rights to this stuff.

Facebook's response to the kerfuffle is to claim that nothing is different really -- although I'm sure they didn't hired a $10,000+ lawyer to do nothing to their new Terms of Service.

"Just trust us," they say. Riiiiiiight.

Ummm. No thanks. From now on, my Facebook profile will be getting only the fluffy stuff. If they want to own my dry skin complaints, fine. They're not getting any more blog posts or pictures from me.

If you want to follow the latest, there are a few Facebook groups you can join. The image above is from the group I've linked to.
Also, if you have a Twitter account, just search with hash tag #facebookTOS for the newest developments (warning: signal-to-noise is pretty crappy).

By joining these, you'll get the newest articles coming out... I did. :)


  1. A good (IMHO) synopsis of the issue:


    It starts a bit ranty and then, with some updates, seems to get to the nut of it. The comments are good too.

    I've always assumed that what goes "out there" has the potential to carry on forever (whether someone copies it, or forwards it).

    A big part of the reason I don't name my kids (or others) in pictures and a HUGE part of the reason I haven't scanned the photo of your child & mine "drinking" at one-year old! :-) I'd really like to share that, but don't want it on some "fail" blog, or to be the subject of one of those demotivational posters...

    Now if THIS were my photo, I'd totally share it.

  2. @harmzie:
    yes, that's the first article I came across yesterday. There have been many more (better) articles since.
    Too many for me to list here.

    This has been taking Twitter (and FB) by storm. I spent most of yesterday surfing to get the latest. It's riveting.

  3. I couldn't believe that crap! Not that it's back to the original terms for the time being I'm thinking it might be a good time to delete my account.

    I was thinking of doing this when I deleted my MS account, but thought I'd sit on it for a bit. Now that FB is so mainstream it's lost a lot of it's appeal for me.

    Adding the last few days on top of that is just icing on the cake.