Facebook Now Owns Your Content – Forever

Update: This subject made the front page of Drudge yesterday. The article is here.

I’m big into social media, especially as a way to promote your business. Even so I’ve never been head over heels about Facebook as a means to promote business. I know many businesses out there who see great returns from their networking on on the site.

Facebook: All your profile belongs to us.

Facebook: All your profile belongs to us.

Facebook recently made a change to their Terms Of Service that make me a little less enthusiastic about the site.

Their Content, Not Mine

As long as I can remember Facebook has always had in their TOS that they can do whatever the heck they want with anything that gets posted to their site. However, until the change this month, if you ever closed your account that “irrevocable, perpetual, non-exclusive, transferable, fully paid, worldwide license (with the right to sublicense)” of theirs would expire.

Sure they’d probably still keep your stuff on their servers. But at least they wouldn’t have the rights to distribute it once you closed your account.

You see, their TOS used to have this at the end of the Licenses section:

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.

But I guess that Facebook decided they just couldn’t stand to ever part with any content you gave them (and probably thought was yours) so they  deleted those two sentances from their TOS.

Business Implications

Does this mean that Facebook is a bad idea for businesses? No. I think it still can be a great way to help get the word out about your business. Just understand that anything you post/upload to Facebook is not yours, it’s theirs.

What it does mean is that it is especially important to keep in mind the Law of Online Perpetuation:

Internet content will persist in direct relation to how embarrassing it is to you irregardless of your efforts to remove it, so don’t be stupid.

And in the case of Facebook, that could be forever.

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