Okay, Let Me Explain This Facebook Thing

Ken AshfordPopular CultureLeave a Comment

Facebook recently changed its terms of service and now thousands of Facebook users are in an uproar.

Opponents claim that Facebook wants the right to own and use your information even after you have cancelled and deleted your account.

ZOMG!  Because I just posted a Facebook note that rivals James Joyce's "Ulysses", and why should Facebook get the rights to that????

Get a grip, people.  Understand something.  When you sign on to Facebook, you give them the right to your information and writings.  Specifically, you give them the right to pass on your information.  You tell them to do that.

For example, if I write on Emily Mark's wall, I am implicitly giving Facebook permission to take what I type and put it on Emily's wall, knowing full well that her "wall" is public (or viewable by people of her choice).  THAT IS ALL THAT FACEBOOK IS GIVING ITSELF BY ITS TERMS OF SERVICE.  In other words, you acknowledge that you give Facebook permission to pass on information that you want to be passed on.

The so-called "new language" in the terms of service merely clarifies that Facebook still has the ongoing obligation to retain that passed-on information even after you cancel and delete your profile.  Returning to my example, suppose I write something to Emily Mark's wall and then, the next day, I cancel my Facebook account and delete everything I have there.  What I wrote on Emily's wall still remains there.  All Facebook is doing, by changing the legalese of their terms of service, is to get you to acknowledge that even after you delete your profile, information and writings that you had up there and passed on to others, will still be available.

It is nothing more than language to protect their own asses.  They are not taking things from you and selling it.  They are not doing anything other than what you expect they would do.

So chill.