I didn’t post about it here because it seemed to be everywhere anyways, but a couple weeks ago Facebook changed their Terms of Service, and not for the best interest of it’s users. Essentially, they changed the terms to say that the copyright for anything posted on Facebook belonged to them, and thus they could do anything they wanted with any material posted without any knowledge or consent of the content creator. Moreover, they also stated that the content was theirs forever; deleting your Facebook account would do nothing to limit the use of anything you uploaded to the site.
Well, it wasn’t going over so well. Badly enough to earn a spot on the front page of the New York Times. Interestingly enough, logging in this morning to check some messages I was greeted by:
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.
Obviously they realized that people weren’t so keen on that. My friend over at The Happy Moron wrote a good little summary of why that would be.
Sites such as Myspce Music got to where they are by having a healthy relationship with the content providers where copyrights are respected. If Facebook can’t come up with Terms of Sevice that have the same respect, it will hurt them in the long run. I think I can understand what they’re trying to do though. Like twitter, Facebook is one of the most popular websites out there right now, and they don’t really have a steady and economically relevant way to monentize the website. Sure they have some little ads on the side, but I can’t see that offsetting the costs to run the thing. Selling information is a great way to pad the bank account; they just need to make sure they listen to their users and know where the line is drawn.