As reported by several sites today, including the Consumerist, Facebook amended its Terms of Service (TOS). Now apparently they own all of the content you uploaded there and use it however they want.
I closed my account after a brief period because of the spam I was getting and to focus more on other networks. I doubt there is anything there of value to them. This issue raises an important question. How do you feel about Facebook owning your content?
Several discussions ensued about the amended language. According to Aaron Brazell at Technosailor, Zuckerberg issued a statement later to clarify the (quiet) action taken.
It looks like Facebook could use better communicators on staff. This is the third time, that I can recall, when they quietly change something and unleash heated discussions by their community members. It's a space free to use, there is a sort of implicit understanding that commerce needs to be part of things.
The second time Facebook faced a bit of music was when they implemented Beacon and forgot to tell users they needed to opt out not to be tracked. As I recall there was a famous case of someone buying an egangement ring and the girl learning about it beore the question culd be popped. Christmas gifts spoiled, etc. I opted out then, completely.
Yes, perhaps these discussions take place when those who are attuned to privacy issues become concerned, as Triston writes in Uptown Uncorked. I think he's a bit too cavalier and personaly side more with his site partner Leslie Poston in preferring Mona's rendition at Pixel Bits.
A little while ago, there were spookier things circulating about Facebook. Even earlier I composed a rant saying that Facebook ain't face time. In that post I came to the defense of blogs. They are the product of our ingenuity and ability to stir critical thought and often enough thoughtful analysis and discourse. And they create the fodder and context for deeper conversations -- here and face to face.
It does take time to consider what to compose, do the appropriate research, write, find suitable images, etc. And potentially your posts will get scraped without proper attribution. But it's your body of work, all collected on your site, building equity and value in one place that can be explored and searched by prospective employers and colleagues.
I know many professionals who use their blog to collect and write about information for a book, for example. Or a thesis, a special project, etc.
What you share on Twitter, FriendFeed, LinkedIn, Facebook, etc. is out there, building value and equity for those networks and brands. Yes, sharing allows you to be generous and participate in the growth of the community. Make no mistake, those services are not free, your content is also a cost.
Portability through widgets, and presence within the network may be advantages. However, TOCs or not, your contributions are making those networks stronger, better, more valuable for those who stand to profit monetarily from their investments.
Your benefits are the connections, and the platforms that allow you to make them. What's interesting to note is that all of these networks are growing up and becoming more commercial, in large part due to the fact that that's where people's mailboxes are now. Time and attention online are the new eyeballs.
A couple of days ago, we said that one of the important layers online in addition to content and community online is commerce. I suspect that how you feel about Facebook (or any of these social networks) owning your content is directly proportional to how you feel about community and commerce.
Now the question is - should you be partaking in the commerce piece or are you alright trading content for community and letting the nework do the commerce? How long before everyone has stands and ads on Facebook? Imagine the signal to noise ration then!
Facebook just passed 175 million users.
[new stats on social network rankings, Compete.com]