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pwned... by facebook!

Ombre Vivante

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You know that picture of you doing shots off your neighbor's stomach? Facebook now has just as much right to it as you do!

WASHINGTON -- You've been told to be careful what you post on your Facebook profile in the past, but there's an entirely new reason to worry.

The social-networking site recently changed its terms of service, and in doing so gave itself rights to anything you've uploaded to your profile. The TOS used to say that once a person closed his or her account, Facebook no longer had the right to that content. But those lines were taken out of the new TOS on Feb. 4.

As you can imagine, this has caused quite a stir in the blogging community, and among some of the site's 175 million users -- most of whom didn't know about the change until the blog world spoke up.

Perez Hiltonhas already called for a Facebook boycott. Perez filed his post under the "Icky Icky Poo" category of his Web site with the following words of wisdom:

"We're so glad we've never uploaded any of our stuff onto Facebook! You Facebook users are SCREWED."

While Perez might not be good with the words, he gets his point across.

So what does the change mean to Facebook users? Consumerist probably says it best:

"Want to close your account? Good for you, but Facebook still has the right to do whatever it wants with your old content. They can even sublicense it if they want."

Aaron Brazell at Technosailor.com said he's advising people not to upload any content to Facebook except links to content elsewhere.

"Links merely point to the actual content," he said on his blog. "Most blogs and content site these days provide a 'Share with Facebook' tool that will allow readers (or yourself) submit content to Facebook. The sticky point is that you are not actually uploading the photo, or the video to Facebook itself. Merely an excerpt and thumbnail."

Of course, this won't help for all of the content uploaded before now, but it will protect you for all future postings. Brazell suggests using a program called Add This (http://addthis.com/).

I'm surprised they hadn't done this from the start :beatnik:

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  • 2 weeks later...

But now:

[big]Facebook offers control to users[/big]

By Darren Waters

Technology editor, BBC News website

Facebook has responded to criticism over the way it handles user data by handing over control to its users.

Members of the social network will have comment and voting rights over the firm's future policies regarding how the site is governed.

Founder Mark Zuckerberg said the aim was to "open up Facebook so that users can participate meaningfully in our policies and our future".

Privacy International's Simon Davies said the move was "unprecedented".

"No other company has made such a bold move towards transparency and democratisation," he said.

"The devil will be in the detail but, overall, we applaud these positive steps and think they foreshadow the future of web 2.0."

Users had complained that it appeared Facebook was claiming ownership of their data - even if they delete their accounts.

The founder said: "We do not own user data, they [users] own it. We never intended to give that impression and feel really bad that we did."

Facebook has announced a new set of governing principles and rights and responsibilities.

Under the changes, users will be able to first comment and then potentially vote on future changes to the documents.

Facebook will enact a vote on changes to its governance when more than 7,000 comments have been made by users on a topic.

Mr Zuckerberg told BBC News: "We think that is pretty reasonable.

"We have designed the votes so a small minority of users cannot create a binding election."

Facebook is the largest social network in the world, with more than 175 million users. The controversy over Facebook's use of personal data is not the first time it has had a run in with users.

It angered some members in the past when it introduced a new advertising system, called Beacon, which delivered adverts to users on external websites based on their Facebook profile and habits. Beacon was quickly changed in order to give users an opt-in or opt-out button from the service.

Included in the new Facebook principles are specific details regarding the ownership of data.

It states: "People should own their information. They should have the freedom to share it with anyone they want and take it with them anywhere they want, including removing it from the Facebook Service."

Mark Zuckerberg said that Facebook had undertaken to carry out all of its business within the framework of the new governance documents.

"We trust our users. We are making this so that we can't put in place a new terms of service without users' permission."

He said he hoped the new policy would "strengthen the community and the bonds between us and the users".

He told BBC News that he believed that opening up decisions about the future policies of the social network was not incompatible with doing business.

He said: "The important thing to keep in mind is that we are strengthening the trust people have in us.

"We believe that good dialogue we will get us to the right place... where everyone is more involved and happy."


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