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Still Lopsided Terms And Conditions: Facebook

On Friday, I finally gave in to the Force and went over to the "dark side" and joined Facebook. Yeah, that's a surprise. Call me crazy, after all I've written about Facebook's privacy and data security issues. But, my move was practical. When your boss at work sends you a link to a Facebook page he expects you to read, it's wise to read it.

I also joined because after last week's post about the Adzilla class-action, new I've Been Mugged readers were looking for me Facebook. While signing up, I reviewed again the September 23, 2008 Terms And Conditions at the Facebook site [bold added for emphasis):

"When you post User Content to the Site, you authorize and direct us to make such copies thereof as we deem necessary in order to facilitate the posting and storage of the User Content on the Site. By posting User Content to any part of the Site, you automatically grant, and you represent and warrant that you have the right to 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, commercial, advertising, or otherwise, on or in connection with the Site or the promotion thereof, to prepare derivative works of, or incorporate into other works, such User Content, and to grant and authorize sublicenses of the foregoing. 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. Facebook does not assert any ownership over your User Content; rather, as between us and you, subject to the rights granted to us in these Terms, you retain full ownership of all of your User Content and any intellectual property rights or other proprietary rights associated with your User Content."

Then there is this interesting section of the Facebook Privacy Policy:

"You post User Content (as defined in the Facebook Terms of Use) on the Site at your own risk. Although we allow you to set privacy options that limit access to your pages, please be aware that no security measures are perfect or impenetrable. We cannot control the actions of other Users with whom you may choose to share your pages and information. Therefore, we cannot and do not guarantee that User Content you post on the Site will not be viewed by unauthorized persons."

This data security statement is pretty similar to the terms I reviewed at Mint.com. These terms may be what Facebook, or social media sites, need to survive and operate profitably. They don't work for me.

While I am no lawyer, the above copy seems pretty clear. This pretty much guarantees that I will use Facebook minimally; posting the absolute minimum amount of personal information.

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