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Pinedale Online > News > February 2009 > Facebook can do anything they want with your content?
Facebook can do anything they want with your content?
Terms of Use change causes controversy for social networking website
by Dawn Ballou, Pinedale Online!
February 17, 2009

There has been a big hub-bub recently when the popular social networking website "Facebook" quietly made an extremely significant change to their terms of service on February 4th. Anyone who signs up as a member to the site has to sign an agreement that grants Facebook a license to use content "on or in connection with the Facebook Service or the promotion thereof." Controversy quickly arose when the revised agreement eliminated language saying the license would "automatically expire" if the content is removed from the site. Some called the new policy: "We Can Do Anything We Want With Your Content. Forever." Facebook management downplayed the new use agreement modification as more of a legal wording change needed for their protection as they store member data.

When we checked out the Terms of Use section on the Facebook website today using the link from the front page (, we couldn’t find the controversial December 4, 2009 terms page. What came up for us was a Terms of Use page with the date of last revision as September 23, 2008. We’re not sure if this is an old page or if the company took down the controversial February 4th revised term page.

Below is the old agreement section for "User Content Posted on the Site" which contains the expiration wording that has caused the controversy (highlighted in bold by Pinedale Online):

"When you post User Content to the Site, you authorize and direct us to make such copies thereof as we deem necessary in order to facilitate the posting and storage of the User Content on the Site. By posting User Content to any part of the Site, you automatically grant, and you represent and warrant that you have the right to grant, to the Company an irrevocable, perpetual, non-exclusive, transferable, fully paid, worldwide license (with the right to sublicense) to use, copy, publicly perform, publicly display, reformat, translate, excerpt (in whole or in part) and distribute such User Content for any purpose, commercial, advertising, or otherwise, on or in connection with the Site or the promotion thereof, to prepare derivative works of, or incorporate into other works, such User Content, and to grant and authorize sublicenses of the foregoing. You may remove your User Content from the Site at any time. If you choose to remove your User Content, the license granted above will automatically expire, however you acknowledge that the Company may retain archived copies of your User Content. Facebook does not assert any ownership over your User Content; rather, as between us and you, subject to the rights granted to us in these Terms, you retain full ownership of all of your User Content and any intellectual property rights or other proprietary rights associated with your User Content."

The Facebook Terms of Use page also includes this section about user submissions:
You acknowledge and agree that any questions, comments, suggestions, ideas, feedback or other information that you provide to Facebook ("Submissions"), are non-confidential and non-proprietary. Facebook will be entitled to the unrestricted use of any such Submission for any purpose, commercial or otherwise, without acknowledgment or compensation to you."

See the links below for more about this story.

Related Links
  • Facebook's New Terms Of Service: -, 2/15/09
  • On Facebook, People Own and Control Their Information - Blog post by Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Facebook, 2/16/09
  • Facebook's change of terms raises eyebrows - Seattle Times, 2/17/09
  • Facebook Users Angry Over Change In Legal Terms - National Public Radio
  • What is Facebook? - Wikipedia
  • Facebook
  • Facebook Terms of Service
  • Pinedale Online > News > February 2009 > Facebook can do anything they want with your content?

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