Today across the Web, people have been buzzing about the new Terms of Service over at Facebook. Upon reading the TOS, the legalese makes it appear that Facebook owns your content once it’s put on the service. The TOS also states that Facebook can use the data for whatever it wants.
Now, as expected, people were outraged at this new clause. There were strong debates across not only throughout the Internet, but the Twitterverse and the Blogosphere.
Finally, Facebook head honsho Mark Zuckerberg, obviously seeing the chaos that the TOS has caused, released the release below on the Facebook blog to set the record straight (the post is below in complete). Users own their data on the service.
Now in the post, he says that they are trying make the rules more understandable. They are? Did I miss something.
I’d like to hear your take below in the comments.
Our philosophy is that people own their information and control who they share it with. 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.
In reality, we wouldn’t share your information in a way you wouldn’t want. The trust you place in us as a safe place to share information is the most important part of what makes Facebook work. Our goal is to build great products and to communicate clearly to help people share more information in this trusted environment.
We still have work to do to communicate more clearly about these issues, and our terms are one example of this. Our philosophy that people own their information and control who they share it with has remained constant. A lot of the language in our terms is overly formal and protective of the rights we need to provide this service to you. Over time we will continue to clarify our positions and make the terms simpler.
Still, the interesting thing about this change in our terms is that it highlights the importance of these issues and their complexity. People want full ownership and control of their information so they can turn off access to it at any time. At the same time, people also want to be able to bring the information others have shared with themlike email addresses, phone numbers, photos and so onto other services and grant those services access to those people’s information. These two positions are at odds with each other. There is no system today that enables me to share my email address with you and then simultaneously lets me control who you share it with and also lets you control what services you share it with.
We’re at an interesting point in the development of the open online world where these issues are being worked out. It’s difficult terrain to navigate and we’re going to make some missteps, but as the leading service for sharing information we take these issues and our responsibility to help resolve them very seriously. This is a big focus for us this year, and I’ll post some more thoughts on openness and these other issues soon.