8 Legal Things to Know About FaceBook

10 Aug 2007 (Fri)

READING LEGAL ANDREW’S LATEST POST on Facebook has just gotten me worried. He wrote (summarized):

“…have you bothered to read Facebook’s Terms of Service (”TOS”) or Privacy Policy? What legal relationship have you agreed to? Who has access to your data and personal details? I waded through their terms and policies. Here are some things I found.

  1. The terms can change any time…. you’re deemed to accept those changes by continuing to use the site. Even if you didn’t know of the change.
  2. Personal use only. LinkedIn is all about jobs and business. MySpace is full of profiles for companies and products. But Facebook is supposedly only for personal use.
  3. A single, individual user account…. you can’t have two accounts on Facebook.
  4. You’re giving up a HUGE license… did you know that posting content gives Facebook a license to do whatever they want with your content?
  5. Applications are NOT guaranteed safe… “installer beware.” A malicious application developer could break through Facebook’s security protocols and expose your info… but Facebook wouldn’t have to take the blame.
  6. Disputes are arbitrated under Delaware law. You’ve agreed to “final and binding arbitration” for resolving most disputes with Facebook.
  7. You surrender all submissions. If you send it to them, it becomes their property.
  8. Privacy is NOT guaranteed. Besides, Facebook’s own third-party contractors might misuse your information.


Afternote 11 Aug 2007: See also: Terms of Use and Privacy Policy on NETCoachAsia.com. Most terms in these statements have stipulated and approved by TrustSg.

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Posted by J.K. in Legal, Possibilities, Problems, Social Media | View Comments |

  • http://uzyn.com uzyn

    Sounds like a pretty fair ToS to me, except 1. which I hope they would at least email the members about any changes in ToS.

  • http://www.NETCoachAsia.com J.K.

    I disagree, U-zyn. I’ve read many ToS. Seems to me that at least points 4 and 8 are not standard AND not common. Usually, content are owned by content creators. And where third-parties are concerned, permission is asked before any such “give, sell or rent” action. For example:

    The Terms on SlideShare.net state clearly that “All content on the Site, other than the Submissions… are owned by or licensed to SlideShare, subject to trademark, copyright and other intellectual property rights under United States and foreign laws and international conventions…. you own or have the necessary licenses, rights, consents, and permissions to use and authorize SlideShare to use all patent, trademark, trade secret, copyright or other proprietary rights in and to any and all Submissions…”

    And SlideShare.net’s Privacy Policy states upfront that “We will not give, sell or rent your email address to any third party and at time, for any reason.”

  • http://www.NETCoachAsia.com J.K.

    By the way, what are the Terms of Service and Privacy Policy on Ping.sg? Do you mean that all the 8 points above apply on Ping.sg too? :-p ;-)

  • http://jeremysconsumerscorner.blogspot.com Jeremy Hobbs

    Facebook is rife with privacy issues…. I think MySpace is the lesser of two evils.

  • http://easyctutorials.com Adam

    I really have no problem with the ToS of facebook…Now I barely use it :P but even if I did I wouldn’t have a problem.

  • http://cybersurge.org Michael

    I don’t like the idea of Facebook getting a license of anything that I put on there, that is ridiculous!

  • http://www.trythis.com Blue

    I’ve recently started to use Facebook after seeing so many of my friends on it. I’ve been uploading photos like crazy to the site. I think I should scale some of that back if I’m going to be giving up rights to those photos…

  • http://www.infohip.com Funny Picture Woman

    Very timely. I’m about to sign up for Facebook. I have had a myspace account for a while.

  • http://www.classesandcareers.com Education Blogger

    wow! I have Facebook and I didn’t know any of this… it might be time for me to stop submitting photos… ;)

  • http://superbloggingtips.com Tay

    Wow, I have a profile on there and I didn’t even know about all of this – some of it, but not the bad stuff.

    First off, only for personal use? If that’s true, then creating an account and promoting my blog with it is off limits, and also because you can only have one account.

    I also don’t think they should gain the license to anything we do on Facebook. It’s not right. Maybe I shouldn’t post my written stories or publish my photos on there anymore.

    Maybe I shouldn’t use Facebook at all. Myspace is better, all the way.

  • http://cheapassairsoftguns.com Cheap Airsoft Guns

    I never bothered reading Facebooks TOS, interesting finds though!

  • http://war-universe.com/ Warhammer

    Have used facebook for awhile so really helpful post, thx !

  • http://www.nethustlin.com Crystal

    This is one reason I don’t like social networking sites. You have no protection of your content whatsoever on these sites. I wouldn’t want to post my pictures or blog on a site knowing that they can claim ownership of it..

  • http://www.chiropracticpromotion.com Chiropractic Marketing

    Facebook vs. Myspace…. I wonder if you could break down the various social status of both users and find any signifiagnt difference. Seems like lower ses people are on myspace.

  • http://dcpracticetools.com Dr. Michael Beck | Chiropractic Marketing

    I heard about this from a seminar speaker at an internet conference. It appears Myspace and even gmail have similar “TOS”.

  • http://DCincome.com Matthew Loop DC

    Facebook has realized that it’s at the top of the food-chain very quickly. They can pretty much do anything they want with your information at any time…. even if you cancel your membership. Sounds like big brother.


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