Facebook’s lawyers recently modified its user agreement terms and conditions, and all was fine until somebody realized that a few sentences covering content rights were deleted. Specifically, a provision that released content rights upon deletion of an account was struck out, and it sparked quite a fury. Consumer advocacy blog, The Consumerist, phrased Facebook’s new policy as “We Can Do Anything We Want With Your Content. Forever.” Facebook’s terms of service do assert that “user content” is exempt from Facebook’s claims of ownership over content. A press release by Facebook clarified that its license to use content is only “in connection with the Facebook Service or the promotion thereof.” The policy does seem a little vague.
A CNN.com article yesterday opined that, “as Facebook becomes more and more of a content-sharing hub, especially now that the Facebook Connect product expands its reach to third-party sites, it’s likely there will be a louder cry among members–especially those involved in creative industries who use their Facebook profiles for professional promotion or publicity–for clearer terms.” For more on the issue, read this CNN.com article by Caroline McCarthy.
The outcry caused by the change in policy was so vast that Facebook then changed its policy back today. Apparently, the Consumerist received 300,000 views to its blog blasting Facebook. This all proves one thing: content is key, but so is the customer.