Tagged: Facebook legal terms

Facebook: Separating myths from facts

By Heather Goldin, Staff Writer
@HeatherGoldin

Facebook privacy post

We see what you did there. A joke post mocking Facebook / SCREENSHOT VIA facebook.com

Ok, social network world, it’s time to straighten some things out. You are scrolling through the homepage when suddenly three consecutive friends have the same bogus status update declaring their Facebook content unavailable for commercial use. Tone down your ego and your  panicking, Facebook isn’t going to try and own your stuff just because they make a few policy changes. Admittedly, I might have almost fell for this scam myself (almost). In case you’re still unsure of what is truth and what is web hoax, I have debunked some of the most common myths for you.

Myth 1: Because Facebook is now a public company I need to post a written message on my wall verifying that I own all the content I post.

Fact 1: You will always be the owner of the content you post to Facebook, but you essentially lease it to the company when you sign up. Giving written protection through a status will do nothing because by having an account, you have agreed to let the company use what you post for commercial purposes. This is all stated in the terms of service agreement. If you ever find the time to read through these, try to decipher the legal jargon because we all know you didn’t when you signed up.

Myth 2: It is impossible to keep my content from being used for commercial purposes.

Fact 2: Let me introduce you to a little concept called privacy settings. Under this handy Facebook tab, you can control what information the applications you sign up for can view and use. Granted, you won’t be able to use some of the applications if you don’t want to share the required information. However, you have more control over who can view your Facebook activity or personal information. You can also set your profile to private, which means that most of your content won’t be visible unless you friend someone or give an app permission to use your information.

Myth 3: Facebook will take away my (recently discovered) ability to vote on policy changes.

Fact 3: There is some truth to this one, but the rest I need to clear up. Although it is true that Facebook is taking away the right of Facebook user’s suffrage, the right to vote on policy change hasn’t been exercised largely in the history of the vote since it’s introduction in 2009. The proposal is to supposedly create a better feedback system for policy change. In short, you have until 9 a.m. PST on Nov. 28 to comment on the proposed changes, and following the commenting period there will be a live chat with Erin Egan, the Chief Privacy Officer of Policy for Facebook, who will respond to questions and comments about the proposed policy. For more details, check out the Facebook Site Governance Page.

Check out College Humor’s  funny and informative video on Facebook law for idiots.

Hopefully this information clears things up a bit. And remember kids, don’t believe everything you read on the Internet.