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Facebook owns your content. All of it. Forever.

Facebook owns your content. All of it. Forever.

Tim Finin, 8:37pm 15 February 2009

2/18 Update: FB reverted its TOS to the previous version early on 18 Feb 2009.

Consumerist has a post on a change in Facebook’s Terms of Service agreement that became effective on 4 February: Facebook’s New Terms Of Service: “We Can Do Anything We Want With Your Content. Forever.”

Both the new Facebook TOS and the previous TOS made these aggressive claims on your content.

“You hereby grant Facebook an irrevocable, perpetual, non-exclusive, transferable, fully paid, worldwide license (with the right to sublicense) to (a) use, copy, publish, stream, store, retain, publicly perform or display, transmit, scan, reformat, modify, edit, frame, translate, excerpt, adapt, create derivative works and distribute (through multiple tiers), any User Content you (i) Post on or in connection with the Facebook Service or the promotion thereof subject only to your privacy settings or (ii) enable a user to Post, including by offering a Share Link on your website and (b) to use your name, likeness and image for any purpose, including commercial or advertising, each of (a) and (b) on or in connection with the Facebook Service or the promotion thereof.”

That was bad enough, but at least Facebook relinquished those rights on your content if you dropped out. But no longer. The following clause from the old TOS has been dropped.

“You may remove your User Content from the Site at any time. If you choose to remove your User Content, the license granted above will automatically expire, however you acknowledge that the Company may retain archived copies of your User Content.”

Just to make it absolutely clear how screwed you are, the new TOS also adds the following.

“The following sections will survive any termination of your use of the Facebook Service: Prohibited Conduct, User Content, Your Privacy Practices, Gift Credits, Ownership; Proprietary Rights, Licenses, Submissions, User Disputes; Complaints, Indemnity, General Disclaimers, Limitation on Liability, Termination and Changes to the Facebook Service, Arbitration, Governing Law; Venue and Jurisdiction and Other.”

By the way, if you’ve used Facebook in any way since 4 February, you have already accepted the new TOS.

“We reserve the right, at our sole discretion, to change or delete portions of these Terms at any time without further notice. Your continued use of the Facebook Service after any such changes constitutes your acceptance of the new Terms.”

And if you want to take them to court, Fugetaboutit.

“Except as set forth in the paragraph below, you agree that all claims and disputes between you and Facebook that arise out of or relate in any way to the Terms or your use of the Facebook Service will be resolved either by (a) binding arbitration by a single arbitrator in Santa Clara County, California or (b) binding non-appearance based arbitration conducted by telephone, online or based solely on written submission.”

All your base are belong to Facebook.

19 Responses to “Facebook owns your content. All of it. Forever.”

  1. Ahmad Blog » Blog Archive » Facebook owns your content. All of it. Forever. Says:

    […] the original post here: Facebook owns your content. All of it. Forever. Add this to : Digg it Save to Subscribe to My RSS […]

  2. Who Owns Your Content When You Blog? Facebook? Twitter? Says:

    […] reading this article Facebook owns your content. All of it. Forever, I am reminded of the virtual lack of control content generators have over their content online. […]

  3. Forty Plus Two » Facebook and new terms of service Says:

    […] and their new terms of service. But not much has changed between the old and new versions. In Facebook owns your content. All of it. Forever. you can compare the old and new terms of […]

  4. Matty Says:

    Omg… I didn’t even know that.

  5. Sara Says:

    Well this is kind of ridiculous… they act as if they’re going to take everything we have and make a huge profit out of it.

    But really, all that they could really make use of is our intellectual property (like if someone posts poems), right? They’re not giving out our email addresses to spammers from what I can tell….

  6. Sara Says:

    just to amend what I said above, I’m not saying it’s not a big deal, just that thankfully not all of us have to worry about it if we don’t post things that we don’t care if we have ownership of.

  7. Michael Says:

    An interesting follow-up on this story can be found over on Slashdot:

  8. Brad Says:

    They reverted to the old ToS for now:;txt

  9. nobody Says:

    Keep in mind that if you profile is on public, anyone can view it and steal ideas and information from it anyway, even if facebook didn’t “claim” ownership.

  10. timothy Says:

    After a wwhole lot of poeple complained, facebook decided to revert back to its original terms of service customer agreements.

  11. Andrew Says:

    Yeah seriously…don’t get your panties in a wad. They removed the wording today. Although it doesn’t really matter because they just put that in there to let you know what they’ve been doing ever since Yahoo bought Facebook. Anyone can access your account at anytime if it’s public. There are ways to even bypass it if you have it set so that only people in your network can see it. That’s why people always say…if there’s something on there you don’t want people to see, take it off.

  12. Julia Says:

    Who. Cares.

  13. Michael Says:

    @Andrew, Julia

    It’s not about having people “able” to see your account. It’s the fact that facebook reserved the right, according to that wording, to take anything you upload to the website and keep it, forever.

    So you upload a picture of you drunk at a party, they reserve the right to keep that forever. Say someone working or affiliated with facebook dislikes you, and decides to send this picture to your place of work. Say it’s something a lot more inappropriate. That could be damaging to both your reputation and your career.

    Facebook could start selling your address to other companies, even *after* you remove it from the website and delete your contact. The after part is crucial because, yes, it’s public content that you chose to put up there. However when you remove it nobody should have any access to it anymore. But Facebook would have the right to, and that’s why everyone’s “panties are in a bunch.” I’m sure FB didn’t mean it that way, but the possibilities are endless.

    The possibilities are endless, and this is just scratching the surface of the less extreme things they could do with it.

  14. John Says:

    thats tottally F%#$@! up!!!!

  15. Andrew Says:


    What most people don’t know is that facebook has always had the right to anything publicly posted on their website. That’s why they call it a public website. They own the website, you don’t own anything on the website, therefore they have the right to publish anything posted on their website.

    Now if you paid to use Facebook, that’d be an entirely different story. But because it is open to the public, anyone has the right to view your information and Facebook has the right to publish your information.

    Now if you make all your settings private, they can’t do this.

    Here endeth the lesson.

  16. Andrew Says:

    Also, just because it is removed doesn’t make it illegal to publish. You chose to put it on the website, therefore you suffer the repercussions. If you make public art and someone takes a picture of it and claims it as their own they can do that because nowhere on the piece of art does it say “Do not reproduce or redistribute”. If you read the Facebook terms and regulations nowhere does it say it won’t reproduce or redistribute your information. It’s a bitch but it’s the truth. Deal with it.

  17. hanum Says:

    Digital is never trustworthy and secure ^_^

  18. Data Ownership – Who Owns Internet Content? « Web 2.0 For The Masses Says:

    […] Now, I think I am a nice person, as such I wouldn’t take any content without your permission, but websites such as Face Book have been known to use user generated content for their own ends: […]

  19. Twisting the bytes » Who owns your comments? Says:

    […] As for FB, as I said, it’s pretty clear: each individual user (as of today’s FB terms of service) is the owner of their content in the system. However, you give FB (or any subcontractor) full permission to access and mine your data, for any purposes. And they reserve (as usual) the right of changing these terms of service at any time. Remember that  FB already tried to execute full control over our data posted on their system. […]