Digital Dirt

February 16, 2009

Your Facebook profile Isn’t Yours

Filed under: Controlling Your Digital Footprint — Tags: , , , — Danny Petre @ 7:25 pm


I just logged onto Facebook and found this note at the top of my homepage.  A great example of the power that consumers (and traditional media) have in today’s world.



“Terms of Use Update

Over the past few days, we have received a lot of feedback about the new terms we posted two weeks ago. Because of this response, we have decided to return to our previous Terms of Use while we resolve the issues that people have raised. For more information, visit the Facebook Blog.

If you want to share your thoughts on what should be in the new terms, check out our group Facebook Bill of Rights and Responsibilities.”





Facebook, has over 150 million users.  It also now owns the information that those 150 million post to their and other Facebook profiles.  As reported on The Consumerist site, Facebook has removed some important information from their Terms of Service agreement and added even more important information that we all should be aware of.


             The removed TOS language:

“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 added TOS language:

“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 what’s this mean for you as a Facebook user?  Everything you post to Facebook they legally own.  But there are some sum rumblings out there in the blog world that only information that you post on social groups, other people’s walls, etc are the property of Facebook if you cancel your account.

Word to the wise: don’t put anything out there, on Facebook or otherwise, that you don’t want to forfeit the rights to or that you don’t want anyone have access to or stumble upon.  





  1. Jinx! we both jumped on FB TOS bandwagon. not sure it will really change my FB behavior though.

    Comment by pastense — February 16, 2009 @ 8:04 pm

  2. This will get major attention if Facebook ever chooses to “republish” content created by a user w/o asking that user for consent. They are protecting themselves “legally,” but I think that the brand would suffer big time if they ever actually did something like this.

    Comment by Matt — February 17, 2009 @ 11:07 am

  3. Matt-

    I totally agree. I think it is more about protecting Facebook from lawsuits. But just imagine a young musician or artist posting “their” artwork to Facebook only to discover later that they have relinquished their rights.

    -Danny Petre

    Comment by dannypetre — February 17, 2009 @ 11:37 am

  4. 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

    Comment by Joe — February 22, 2009 @ 5:55 pm

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