what are you signing up for when you sign up for facebook ?
Before you sign up, or if you already have, you need to agree or have agreed to facebook’s terms of service.
You can find these important documents on the homepage; just have a look at the picture to the right ->
As you can see, they are rather tiny links!
So what did you say YES to?
Importantly, you said YES to
Section2.1 “a non-exclusive, transferable, sub-licensable, royalty-free, worldwide license to use any IP content that you post on or in connection with Facebook (“IP License”).”
IP content refers to photos, videos, wall posts, status comments and everything else you post and share on your profile and the profile of your friends
Facebook’s “IP License” is subject to your own privacy and application settings
Facebook’s “IP License” ends when you “ delete your IP content or your account unless your content has been shared with others and they have not deleted it.”
Deleted content may remain in “back up copies for a reasonable period of time (but will not be available to others).” (Section 2.2)
What does that mean?
When you upload a photo or video or post information on Facebook, you “ own ” it, but you agree that Facebook can use it.
However, Facebook cannot do anything with your content outside of your privacy settings.
If your photos are set to FRIEND’S ONLY for example, Facebook’s “IP License” of your photo is bound by your FRIEND’S ONLY privacy setting. It will not be shared with all of Facebook, or used outside of your profile.
So what is important?
It is important that you use the tools available to you to protect your content and information on Facebook
If you are concerned about privacy, make your profile information available to your friends only and be mindful of the information you share
Remember that profile privacy is different to photo privacy, so take the time to review your photo albums and the privacy settings you have set for them
Unfortunately, privacy settings can prove confusing for new users, and many indeed don’t change the default settings (Christiana & Goettke, 2007).
Remember that when you post on some ones wall or comment on their photo, that content will remain until it is deleted by you or by your friend.
It will remain even if you delete your account and no longer use Facebook. It is like sending someone an email, just because you delete the email from your sent folder or delete your email account, doesn’t remove the email from the receiver’s inbox.
Content you delete may remain on back up copies as stated in Facebook’s terms of service, but they are not available for others to see once deleted.
This is a cause for concern, because even though your deleted content is not available for viewing, how long it remains archived is not disclosed.
This, and other data online being “compiled, stored and cross-linked” (Barbaro & Zeller, 2006) is what Rotenberg (Barbaro & Zeller, 2006) says is “a ticking privacy time bomb.”
Other important things you agreed to!
Facebook does not have control over what other people do with your content, so be aware of you privacy settings and who you are sharing with, especially when posting content under the “Everyone” setting, which allows anyone on the internet access to that content. Essentially you are in charge of what happens to your content and information
You also agreed to be regulated regarding what you use Facebook for and what you post, such as;
You are not to use Facebook for unauthorized commercial use or pyramid scheme marketing
You agree not to post pornographic, hateful or overly violent content on Facebook
“ You will not upload viruses or other malicious code”
“ You will not use Facebook to do anything unlawful, misleading … or discriminatory”
Unfortunately some of these items may be open to interpretation and may differ from person to person leaving loopholes for users unsure of what is classed as inappropriate content. Content deemed inappropriate by Facebook may be removed.
There are also regulations in place in Facebook’s Terms of Service that govern WHO is able to use Facebook and HOW they must share their personal information;
You must be 13 year of age or older
You must not be a convicted sex offender
You must not provide false personal information
You must keep your personal information current
Although these regulations are in place and Facebook does delete profiles confirmed to be those belonging to children under 13 or created with false personal information, many accounts get through these nearly unenforceable regulations. No current proof of age is required to sign up for Facebook, and no system is in place to verify personal information given during account registration.
Barbaro, M., & Zeller, T. (2006). A face is exposed for AOL searcher No. 4417749 . Retrieved September 12, 2009, from http://w2.eff. org/Privacy/AOL/exhibit_d . pdf
Goettke, R., & Christiana, J. (2007). Privacy and Online Social Networking Websites. Computer Science 199r: Special Topics in Computer Science Computation and Society: Privacy and Technology. Retrieved September 12, 2009, from http://www. eecs . harvard .edu/cs199r/fp/RichJoe. pdf
Statement of Rights and Responsibilities (n.d.). Retrieved September 27, 2009, from http://www.facebook.com/terms/english.php