Feeds

Facebook downplays eternal user data grab

You can trust us...bitch

The Essential Guide to IT Transformation

Responding to a torrent of outrage and suspicion over changes to Facebook's terms of service, the site's chief executive Mark Zuckerberg is asking users to trust the social networking company with eternal permission to use and license all content and information ever posted there - even after an account is deleted.

Zuckerberg jumped into PR damage control mode Monday afternoon with a blog post attempting to sooth Facebook users angered by the recent service policy changes regarding who ultimately has control of the web site's content.

"Our philosophy is that people own their information and control who they share it with," wrote Zuckerburg in the post. "When a person shares information on Facebook, they first need to grant Facebook a license to use that information so that we can show it to the other people they've asked us to share it with. Without this license, we couldn't help people share that information."

The controversy over Facebook's new terms of service (TOS) was sparked by consumer advocacy site The Consumerist's take on the change titled, "Facebook's New Terms of Service: 'We Can Do Anything We Want With Your Content. Forever.'" Indignation spread quickly amongst bloggers and tech writers, with condemnation and claims of giving up Facebook forever laid thick.

At issue is Facebook's removal of a provision that said the company's license to users' content automatically expires after accounts are deleted. That clause was swapped for language saying Facebook will now keep content and licenses even after the account is removed.

Apparently, those who've trudged through Facebook's TOS before the controversy weren't overly-concerned with signing over "irrevocable, perpetual, non-exclusive, transferable, fully paid, worldwide license (with the right to sublicense)" all uploaded content in the first place.

Zuckerberg claims Facebook wants permission to hold onto content from deleted accounts only for things like keeping a message a user had sent in the recipients inbox. He wrote that the policy is consistent with how other services like email work and therefore fair game for Facebook.

As for the company owning licenses to all its users' uploaded content, Zuckerberg says just to trust them not to abuse the power.

"In reality, we wouldn't share your information in a way you wouldn't want," he wrote. "The trust you place in us as a safe place to share information is the most important part of what makes Facebook work."

No word yet on how Facebook knows how each of its 175 million active users want their information shared. ®

The Essential Guide to IT Transformation

More from The Register

next story
Secure microkernel that uses maths to be 'bug free' goes open source
Hacker-repelling, drone-protecting code will soon be yours to tweak as you see fit
NO MORE ALL CAPS and other pleasures of Visual Studio 14
Unpicking a packed preview that breaks down ASP.NET
KDE releases ice-cream coloured Plasma 5 just in time for summer
Melty but refreshing - popular rival to Mint's Cinnamon's still a work in progress
Leaked Windows Phone 8.1 Update specs tease details of Nokia's next mobes
New screen sizes, dual SIMs, voice over LTE, and more
Another day, another Firefox: Version 31 is upon us ALREADY
Web devs, Mozilla really wants you to like this one
Put down that Oracle database patch: It could cost $23,000 per CPU
On-by-default INMEMORY tech a boon for developers ... as long as they can afford it
Google shows off new Chrome OS look
Athena springs full-grown from Chromium project's head
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
The Essential Guide to IT Transformation
ServiceNow discusses three IT transformations that can help CIO's automate IT services to transform IT and the enterprise.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
Build a business case: developing custom apps
Learn how to maximize the value of custom applications by accelerating and simplifying their development.