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Your Privacy and Data on Facebook

A few months ago I found the ‘Does What Happen in the Facebook Stay in the Facebook?‘ video on the front page of Digg. Yeah, it’s mostly sensationalist scare tactics about how Facebook is supposedly involved with some big CIA-based ECHELON / Carnivore-esque conspiracy, but a couple of things that the video points out are really worthy of note. Specifically the wording of their publicly available Terms of Use and ‘privacy’ policy:

By posting User Content to any part of the Site, you automatically grant [...] to the Company an irrevocable, perpetual, non-exclusive, transferable, fully paid, worldwide license (with the right to sublicense) to use, copy, publicly perform, publicly display, reformat, translate, excerpt (in whole or in part) and distribute such User Content for any purpose on or in connection with the Site or the promotion thereof [...]

In all honestly I expected nothing less, but actually reading it and taking the time to understand the implications of uploading your material makes me want to never upload a photo again, lest a Virgin Mobile incident (or worse) happens to me or someone I know. Especially when they class ‘User Content’ as:

Photos, profiles, messages, notes, text, information, music, video, advertisements, listings, and other content that you upload, publish or display [...]

And even more so when you read this:

Facebook may also collect information about you from other sources, such as newspapers, blogs, instant messaging services, and other users of the Facebook service.

How depressing? But in all honestly I’m not going to change my ways – if you upload anything anywhere, expect it to be seen by anyone and be used for any purpose. To finish, have some choice quotes from Digg when the aforementioned video was posted there:

  • I like looking at drunken half naked girls on a daily basis. Long live Facebook.
  • What is this, six degrees from Kevin Bacon?
  • Big Brother is watching you poke.
  • If you look at all those dotted lines and trace that pattern on to a piece of Reynold’s Wrap it is the secret directions to make a tin foil cap, which will protect you from imaginary things that do not exist!
  • If you don’t want someone to know something about you…. don’t post it on THE INTERNET.
  • HOLY CRAP CONSPIRACY.
  • OH MY GOD THE GOVERNMENT IS GOING TO KILL US ALL
  • OH NO THEY KNOW I LIKE A MOVIE!!!!