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Facebook Terms of Service Explained


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NET 303 POLICY PRIMER - An educational presentation that looks at the Terms of Service in relation to Facebook.

Published in: Technology
  • This presentation is nice and clear, but manages to include a lot of useful information at the same time. Following a similar story to many of these Terms of Service presentations, it points out some important points that an average user would not think about or assume to be the case, and displays that its subject (in this case, Facebook) claims a whole lot of rights for itself.

    Facebook and World of Warcraft (the subject of my presentation) can both be seen to have a heavy social aspect, and it is interesting to see that they both place a heavy emphasis on rules about interaction. In both, there are rules prohibiting communicating with others negatively. Being social spaces, it is in the best interest of both to attempt to make the experience a good one by discouraging anti-social behaviour. They are both able to delete user accounts that disobey the rules as well.

    This presentation points out that Facebook puts emphasis on users providing truthful information about themselves, with many rules relating to this. A useful comparison can be made between the game platform Steam and Facebook. Godfrey’s presentation about Steam points out that users can change information about themselves, allowing them to “manipulate the way they are represented within the Steam user-base…”. (2012). It indicates that although Steam would prefer to have true personal details, it places less emphasis on it as Facebook.

    Once again I can see a common theme come up that is already present in both World of Warcraft and Steam, where Facebook is able to do what it likes with user-generated content that is on its site. After seeing this repetition, it is quite clear that many online platforms reserve these kinds of rights, and it’s worth being mindful of this whenever creating anything online.

    My World of Warcraft presentation can be found at

    Works Cited

    Godfrey, S. (2012). Steaming Pile of Terms of Service: A Policy Primer Presentation. Retrieved from
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  • Nice presentation here. I like the easy to follow, consistent format used here, especially the way in which each slide presents as an answer to a question related to Facebook's terms and privacy policy. This appears to keep the content nice and relevant, especially to those outside of the Internet Studies field.

    One interesting point about Facebook's terms, as you've outline here, is in what kind of content is allowed. I see you've noted Facebook's community standards (2012) include things like: 'No bullying' and 'No hate speech', and that generally as a consequence of breaching these terms, Facebook can terminate an account (becsweeny91, 2012).
    Although according to Keane (2012), this isn't always the case. He notes that 'Facebook has a dodgy record on taking down pages', and that in some cases it's taken over a month to remove content that breaches Facebook's terms.

    Also interesting, is that information usage policy is very similar between Facebook and my case study of Google+. However, it appears Facebook’s data usage policy allows it much more scope in terms of how it can use your data. Facebook, as you mention, can use almost any data or content you share, regardless of whether it be with select users, or publicly (becsweeny91, 2012), whereas Google+ can only share data under certain circumstances (iannet303, 2012). It would be interesting to find out what causes this distinction between the two social networks, despite their policies having many other similarities.

    becsweeney91. (2012). Facebook Terms of Service Explained. Retrieved from
    iannet303. (2012). 'Don't Be Evil' - A primer for Google+ Terms of Service. Retrieved from
    Keane, B. (2012, August 9). Facebook at centre of convergence debate. Crikey. Retrieved from
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Facebook Terms of Service Explained

  1. 1. A simple, educational overview of the Terms of Service that Facebook users agree to. By Rebecca Sweeny 14279878
  2. 2. • Facebook is a social networking site used by over 995 million people and is the most visited site on the internet! (Facebook Newsroom, June 2012)• To sign up to Facebook, these 995 million users had to agree to the Terms of Service provided by Facebook.• But did every one of these millions of users read and understand exactly what they agreed to when they signed up?NO! like most users, they clicked the „I agree button‟, unaware andignorant to the finer details of online behaviour, content ownership,copyright and privacy issues, leaving users with some unansweredquestions.
  3. 3. What can’t I do on Facebook?• NO bullying, harassing or intimidating other users.• NO pornographic or nude photos, videos or other material of this nature.• NO hate speech or violent, graphic material.• NO uploading virus or malicious software.• NO logging in to other peoples accounts or giving away their login details.• NO collecting user‟s data through the use of spyware and other software.• NO pirated material, this includes posting pirated videos, links to pirated websites and other posts including methods of how to obtain such material. (Facebook Community Standards, 2012)
  4. 4. What is the point of all these restrictions? • Safety and the protection of user‟s rights is the main reason for all these rules. • Being such a large social network, monitoring and making sure users abide by these rules is very hard. • This is why Facebook cannot guarantee the safety of its users, and relies on people to follow the rules and use Facebook for what it is intended; friendly communication and information sharing. • As Facebook quotes “We respect other peoples rights and except you to do the same” (Facebook Statement of Rights and responsibilities, 2012). • Facebook users are 100% responsible for their actions.
  5. 5. What happens if I break these rules? • If any of these rules are broken, Facebook has the right to delete your account! • Facebook can also terminate your account if you violate any other statements in the Terms of Service as you have agreed to abide by them. • If you create any kind of risk or legal exposure to Facebook, they also have the right to stop providing some part, or all of it to you (Facebook Statement of Rights and responsibilities, 2012). • YOU AGREED, FOLLOW THE RULES 
  6. 6. Who has ownership over the content and information I share on Facebook? • You own all the content and information you post and share on Facebook. • You are the owner of all content such as photos, videos and conversations you post On your page or another. • You also have control over how this information is shared and who can see it. • However, you don‟t have control over where or how this information can be reused, sold and distributed by Facebook. (Facebook Data Use Policy, 2012)
  7. 7. Does this mean Facebook can use my photos and videos? • YES! When you agree to the Terms of Service you give Facebook the right to use your intellectual property such as photos and videos. • As it quotes in the Terms of Service “Subject to your privacy and application settings, you grant us a non- exclusive, transferable, sub-licensable, royalty-free, worldwide license to use any IP content that you post on or in connection with Facebook” (Facebook Statement of Rights and responsibilities, 2012) • This means that Facebook can sell or reuse your public photos and other content, as you have essentially given them permission to do so.
  8. 8. What information & data does Facebook use and how long does it keep it for ? • In agreement with the Terms of Service, any information you share, with your friends or the public, Facebook is allowed to record, keep and sell it to third parties. (Facebook Data Use Policy, 2012) • Data such as, the groups you like and your email contacts when you use friend finder is stored by Facebook. • Your name and phone number is also stored when you use Facebook on a smart phone. Your IP address and you location is also stored by Facebook when using you PC. (Facebook Data Use Policy, 2012) • Even after you delete your account, Facebook and even search engines like Google have a record of your data. No one can use Facebook and be anonymous!
  9. 9. What kind of Privacy do I have on Facebook? • Facebook can be very private or very open, depending on the users privacy settings. • Facebook gives users the responsibility and choice to share information in their own way. • However, certain information is public even with the tightest privacy settings. • Registration information such as your name, birthday, gender and profile picture always remains public. (Facebook Privacy Settings, 2012)
  10. 10. So, not everyone can see my photos if I choose the right settings? • The only picture everyone can see is you profile picture. • Other photos and albums can be viewed by your everyone, friends only, selected groups of people, or just by you! • Other information such as status updates, profile information and videos can be made only available to certain people through privacy settings. • Users have the choice of Public, Friends and Custom group settings when posting and sharing content. (Facebook Privacy Settings, 2012)
  11. 11. Can Children use Facebook? • Yes, children aged 13 – 18 can create and use a Facebook account. • However, children below 13 are not permitted to use Facebook (Facebook Statement of Rights and responsibilities, 2012).• There are different privacy settings for minors to help ensure their safety. Minors can only share with friends, and friends of friends, they can not share „publicly‟ with „everyone‟. (Facebook, How Does Privacy Work for Minors, 2012)• Location service defaults are different. As well. For minors the default is set to „Off‟, but for adults its default is set to „On‟. If children wish to be located in their posts, they would have to manually turn the settings on. (Facebook, How Does Privacy Work for Minors, 2012)• Anyone who is a convicted sex offender can also not join Facebook. (Facebook Statement of Rights and responsibilities, 2012).
  12. 12. Can I lie about who I am on Facebook?• No, Facebook requires users to provide their full name, real birthday and honest, accurate, personal information.• Users can not create more than one account and if their account is disabled, they can not create a new one without permission (Facebook Statement of Rights and responsibilities, 2012).• Users are to also keep their personal information “accurate and up to date” (Facebook Statement of Rights and responsibilities, 2012).• Facebook also encourages users to add and share more information about themselves such as job history, education, interests etc. in order to better target advertising.• Most accounts on Facebook represent real individuals in some way or another.
  13. 13. Do copyright laws still apply on Facebook?• YES! Facebook respects copyright laws and encourages it users to follow them.• This means that users can NOT upload pictures, videos and other written or digital materials that they do not own the copyright to or have permission to use.• The Facebook logo, like button, and application logo are exclusive material of Facebook and can only be used with permission in certain ways.• Users who wish to use these logos for business, educational or personal use can do so in a way that is not “deceptive, harmful, obscene, or otherwise objectionable to Facebook” (Facebook Brand Permission Centre, 2012).
  14. 14. So many rules and privacy concerns!Should I just not use Facebook at all? • Definitely not, Facebook has become a key part of our lives and whilst it does raise some privacy issues it can be fun, entertaining and a great means of communication. A few tips for Facebook users: • Be aware of the terms of service so as to not violate them. • Understand the responsibly you have over your own content, actions, behaviour and your privacy settings. • Actively monitor and adjust privacy settings, so that any information you do not wish to share is kept private (Privacy and the Internet, 2008). • Be selective of what information you put on Facebook too, do people need to know your address, what bank your with, the school you went to, or who your dating?
  15. 15. References:Facebook. (2012). Brand Permission Centre . Retrieved from Community Standards. Retrieved from (2012). Data Use Policy. Retrieved from!/about/privacy/Facebook. (2012). How Does Privacy Work for Minors? Retrieved from (2012). Newsroom. Retrieved from (2012). Privacy Settings. Retrieved from!/settings/?tab=privacyFacebook. (2012). Statement of Rights and Responsibilities. Retrieved from, R., & Christiana, J. (2007). Privacy and Online Social Networking Websites. Retrieved from (2008). Privacy and the Internet: Travelling in Cyberspace Safely. Retrieved from: