Hi folks, and happy Wednesday. It’s a short one this week and I hope you found the long weekend as productive and exciting as I did. I spent it finishing up a long overdue freelance project, being stalked by a former resident of the house I currently live in (scary), standing 10-feet away from a mind-blowing Valentine’s Day performance by Mirror/Dash, aka Kim Gordon and Thurston Moore of alterna-rock legend Sonic Youth, and taking a trip to Guitar Center to replace my DJ headphones in time for my next gig. Let me tell you, it’s a dangerous place that Guitar Center and I’m lucky I made it out of there with *just* headphones.
The Mirror/Dash show was amazing. It happened at the MoCA opening for Dan Graham’s retrospective “Beyond,” and was meant for MoCA members only but I managed to score to comp tix and I’m so glad I did. Not only did I impress my Valentine with my uber-cool connections and totally indie taste in music (yes!), I also got the chance to take some crazy low-res footage of the band using my camera phone, which I later uploaded to YouTube and Facebook.
Anyhow, I figure now is a good time to discuss the news about Facebook and the changes made to its Terms of Service (TOS), changes which were implemented without much fanfare until The Consumerist posted a blog about it over the holiday weekend.
Apparently, as of February 4th, anything you post onto Facebook is owned by them from now until infinity. This means even if you decide to delete your account, any artwork, writing, photography, or information you’ve posted to the site since you created your profile will reside on a server somewhere in Facebook-land, easily accessible by anyone covered under the new TOS. That was until yesterday.
After increasing pressure from users and privacy advocates, on Tuesday, February 17, Facebook finally reverted back to its old TOS and posted a brief message to users upon login regarding the awkward change of plans.
This is not the first time Facebook has backpedaled after making an unpopular decision, and it makes one wonder just who is manning the ship? More importantly, who exactly owns the videos I posted to my Facebook profile this past Sunday while the ‘new’ TOS was still in effect? None of this is clear, and I think it should be. Some will say anything you put on the Internet is no longer yours and anyone who complains about social networks ‘stealing’ their content is being a crybaby. I disagree. I think Facebook should demonstrate it values its user base. I think Facebook should express in no uncertain terms not only what rights it claims to its users’ content, but also, what it plans to do with those rights – and why they feel the need to be so greedy.
If anyone is interested, here is Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s response from the Facebook blog. Sigh.