Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Facebook Follies

Facebook recently alerted its users that although they could delete content (text, pictures) from their profiles at any time, Facebook had the right to retain archived copies of the material. Following outraged user reactions, Facebook has backed down. It has acknowledged that users own their content.

In fairness, Facebook never exactly claimed that it would own anything users posted on the site; reserving the right to retain archived copies is pretty different from claiming ownership, which would have meant that Facebook could do anything it wanted with the material. My sense is that Facebook was just covering itself in case, as is likely, it doesn't always succeed in deleting everything every user wants deleted.

But at the same time, Facebook, of all websites, should have been alert to the sensitivities of content control in the digital age. The Internet is challenging our understanding of what makes sense in intellectual property rights in many ways. Central sites like Facebook must know that they are in the vanguard and that their every moved will affect millions of users. Have a care, Facebook, whenever you change that boring fine print in the terms of use.

1 comment:

aglu said...

This private affair Facebook. If it is not pleasant, use other service.