Bye Bye, Facebook

Hello readers! I promise, we will be coming out of hibernation soon. In the meantime, here’s a tidbit that many of you may already know, but I’d bet many are oblivious to:

BY DEFAULT, ANY CONTENT YOU POST ON FACEBOOK IS NOT LONGER YOURS.

That’s right, under default privacy and application settings, any content you post, including photography or other Intellectual Property, becomes the property of Facebook, to do with as they please. See Sections 1 and 2 from Article 2 of their ToS below. Basically, unless you specifically modify your settings to say otherwise, you are giving Facebook the right to use your content, ROYALTY FREE, and even sub-license that content to others! Really?? I don’t want to begin to think about those implications.

So you’re thinking, “Well that’s it! I’m closing my Facebook account right now!” Well, unfortunately, that’s not good enough. You see that other statement down there? “This IP License ends when you delete your IP content or your account UNLESS YOUR CONTENT HAS BEEN SHARED WITH OTHERS, AND THEY HAVE NOT DELETED IT”

Let’s just take a moment to analyze that statement….You posted something on Facebook. There. Too late. You shared it with others. So that means, even if you delete your Facebook account, the only way you can be sure your content does not continue to get used by Facebook is to  go to every person who you shared said content with and have THEM delete that content from THEIR Facebook accounts as well! But wait, that isn’t even enough! As stated further down: “However, you understand that removed content may persist in backup copies for a reasonable period of time.” How vague is that?? For Facebook, maybe they decide it’s “reasonable” to keep 10 years worth of backups, or more!

(excerpt from Facebook ToS)
Sharing Your Content and Information
You own all of the content and information you post on Facebook, and you can control how it is shared through your privacy and application settings.
In addition:

  1. For content that is covered by intellectual property rights, like photos and videos (IP content), you specifically give us the following permission, subject to your privacy and application settings: you grant us a non-exclusive, transferable, sub-licensable, royalty-free, worldwide license to use any IP content that you post on or in connection with Facebook (IP License). This IP License ends when you delete your IP content or your account unless your content has been shared with others, and they have not deleted it.
  2. When you delete IP content, it is deleted in a manner similar to emptying the recycle bin on a computer. However, you understand that removed content may persist in backup copies for a reasonable period of time (but will not be available to others).
    Link to full ToS: here

I don’t know about you all, but this is one blogger who no longer feels comfortable posting much of anything on Facebook. Especially since it seems like several times a year, they change the way their Privacy and Application settings work and are worded.
So what do we do?

While Google+ reserves many similar rights to content you share through their service, they do seem to give you more control over who the content is shared with AND the ability to remove your content from their services. Being that Google offers may more services that Facebook, their ToS is more general, with the Privacy Policies of each service being more specific.

Essentially,
(excerpt from Google ToS)
When you upload or otherwise submit content to our Services, you give Google (and those we work with) a worldwide license to use, host, store, reproduce, modify, create derivative works (such as those resulting from translations, adaptations or other changes we make so that your content works better with our Services), communicate, publish, publicly perform, publicly display and distribute such content. The rights you grant in this license are for the limited purpose of operating, promoting, and improving our Services, and to develop new ones

(excerpt from Google Privacy Policy)
Many of our services let you share information with others. Remember that when you share information publicly, it may be indexable by search engines, including Google. Our services provide you with different options on sharing and removing your content. We will share personal information with companies, organizations or individuals outside of Google when we have your consent to do so. We require opt-in consent for the sharing of any sensitive personal information.

The key items for me are the additional level of control over content I share on Google Services, the ability to completely remove said content from Google’s services, and the fact that Google requires you to “Opt-In” for your personal info to be shared with others versus Facebook’s “Opt-Out or your info will be shared” approach. Also, of note is that Google does not have the right to “sub-license” your content to other entities. I also like that Google offers many Privacy Tools including a Dashboard that essentially lets you see everything you have shared through their services, content or information, and remove much of that data as you see fit. See those tools: here.

It looks like this is strike 2 and 3 for Facebook as far as I am concerned. I will be going through and deleting as much content as I can before closing/deleting my Facebook account (though it does little good) and will be focusing my future efforts in Google+.
Who’s With Me?!?

(editor’s note: As of the migration of the blog in Jan. 2020, Google+ has long since been removed from Google’s stable of services. We are all on our own to make our way in a time when Facebook has become an even bigger data giant and started buying up the competition such as Instagram and WhatsApp)