Our View: OMG Facebook

Feb 182009

The boys over at Facebook really pissed off some ‘Bookers recently when they clarified a section of their terms of agreement — a contract between the social networking Web site and site users.

In what company heads called a “misunderstanding” in The New York Times, the content use policy for Facebook had been modified, revealing that the Web site giant could use any media and information created and posted by users for their own gain.

But three days and hundreds upon thousands of angry responses later, the California-based company rescinded the policy, instead choosing to gingerly go back to its old policy.

The real issue here, however, is the transparency — or lack thereof — that sites like Facebook have with users.

When was the last time anyone read the terms of agreement? And can you blame him or her for not doing so? Facebook’s old terms of agreement note is 6,849 words in length. Who has the time read that when they’re checking out our novel-length Our Views, which run 250 words?

No, Facebook is not the only guilty party in cases such as this, and yes, users should realize that sharing on free networking sites does have consequences on their intellectual property.

But what if there was some way, some infallible solution to let consumers know what they’re really getting into?

Maybe companies should give readers a chance by taking their convoluted legal language and putting it into words people can actually understand.

So, Facebook, here’s how we can put your 102-word content usage policy into layman’s terms: Facebook has the right to take your stuff, with permission or not. So beware.

See how easy it is to be transparent?

 Posted by at 5:00 pm

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