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Facebook Still Owns Your Photos

Always has, always will.

And if they can’t make money the old fash­ioned way (ad rev­enue) then they have the pos­si­bil­ity of sell­ing all your per­sonal stuff to the high­est bid­der.  Admit­tedly, that is some­thing they haven’t ever done in the his­tory of the com­pany, but it is still stan­dard legalese in the “Terms of Ser­vice” or TOS agreement.

Giz­modo explains:

When you signed up for Face­book, you agreed to Facebook’s Terms of Ser­vice (ToS). These are the rules you agree to play by so long as you use Face­book, period. They’re Facebook’s rules. Odds are you didn’t bother read­ing the ToS before you signed up, because Face­book was new and excit­ing and who ever reads that stuff any­way? No one does.

Half a decade or so later, we’re still bound by those rules—and that means that, despite all the hoaxes float­ing around today that might tell you oth­er­wise, Face­book owns the pic­tures and videos you share. And you can’t opt out, ever, because you agreed to this:

(I’ll bold the impor­tant parts)

Your Con­tent and Information

You own all of the con­tent and infor­ma­tion you post on Face­book, and you can con­trol how it is shared through your pri­vacy and appli­ca­tion set­tings. In addition:

For con­tent that is cov­ered by intel­lec­tual prop­erty rights, like pho­tos and videos (IP con­tent), you specif­i­cally give us the fol­low­ing per­mis­sion, 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 (IP License). This 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.

When you delete IP con­tent, it is deleted in a man­ner sim­i­lar to emp­ty­ing the recy­cle bin on a com­puter. How­ever, you under­stand that removed con­tent may per­sist in backup copies for a rea­son­able period of time (but will not be avail­able to others).

In short: if you upload a photo, Face­book is 100%, com­pletely allowed to use it (or sell it) until you delete that photo or delete your account. This isn’t to say that it does any of this stuff—and in fact Face­book is adamant that it does not—just reserv­ing the right to at some point in the future.

So the ques­tion remains for Face­book:  If you say that you are never going to sell the pho­tos peo­ple put up on Face­book, why do you still legally reserve the right to do so at “some point in the future.”

Just another exam­ple of the biggest joke on the Inter­net remain­ing the Face­book pri­vacy agreement.

UPDATE Appar­ently the increase in inter­est in the Face­book TOS is due to an Inter­net meme (on Face­book natch) where folks would post a long, legal-sound dia­tribe believ­ing that by doing so, they were mak­ing them­selves exempt from the TOS.

(What fools these mor­tals be…)

Any­way, to high­light said stu­pid­ity, the gang at CollegeHumor.com did a sketch on it.  Enjoy.



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  • green­car­man

    Just another exam­ple of the biggest joke on the Inter­net remain­ing the Face­book pri­vacy agreement.”

    It’s their busi­ness, they can do what they want with it, correct?

    Besides, you don’t like the rules, then don’t join. Prob­lem solved, conservative-style.