Fresh off it’s heels from a huge public relations CF a couple of weeks ago Facebook today hosted a conference call to announce a statement of rights and responsiblities and something called the Facebook Principals. People were peeved when FB a few weeks ago made some changes to their TOS where it gave the impression that they would still own the data and be able to do “whatever it wanted with the data forever” when members quit or purged their profiles from the site. That was of course not what they really wanted to say and later amended their statement to …
If you send a message to another user (or post to their wall, etc…), that content might not be removed by Facebook if you delete your account (but can be deleted by your friend). Furthermore, it is important to note that this license is made subject to the user’s privacy settings. So any limitations that a user puts on display of the relevant content (e.g. To specific friends) are respected by Facebook. Also, the license only allows us to use the info “in connection with the Facebook Service or the promotion thereof.” Users generally expect and understand this behavior as it has been a common practice for web services since the advent of webmail. For example, if you send a message to a friend on a webmail service, that service will not delete that message from your friend’s inbox if you delete your account.
The amended statement basically clarifies the notion of owning the data “forever” as more of a privacy settings/usability thing.
The new TOS they put out today underscores their commitment to transparency and their willingness to enable the community to participate in controversial decisions by voting.
Hmmm.. I wonder how many of us Facebookers really care and more importantly will actually take the time to vote on some of these issues. Like everything else that’s up for a vote only a few who really care will take the time to vote and influence the decisions. I think their idea to include users or members in the decision making process vis a vis their TOS is useless unless a large majority participate.
IMO they should draft their TOS as best as they can and make sure it’s articulated properly so people understand it the first time around.