A couple of semesters ago I was doing Business Law, and for one of the assignments I was suppose to analyze a terms and conditions of an online company and I choose Facebook as one of them which also sparked my interest in social media privacy issues. After reading Facebook’s I went on and read other social media conditions and boy did I get a fright!
How many of you out there really read the 14 page long terms and conditions with tiny tiny font before you click on the ‘ok’ button to join Facebook, Linkedin or Twitter? If you’re anything like me I didn’t read them. Just blindly joined up and thought that they had my best interest at heart. While doing my research I came across a telegraph article titled: Facebook terms and conditions: why you don’t own your online life. I thought that was pretty accurate and funny. This article summaries these terms and conditions really well.
The Telegraph explained this quite well below.
For instance did you know that “Facebook has a license to use your content in any way it sees fit, with a license that goes beyond merely covering the operation of the service in its current form. Facebook can transfer or sub-license its rights over a user’s content to another company or organization if needed. Facebook’s license does not end upon the deactivation or deletion of a user’s account, content is only released from this license once all other users that have interacted with the content have also broken their ties with it (for example, a photo or video shared or tagged with a group of friends)”.
And Twitter terms give it broad scope to use, change and distribute any photos, writing or video posted through Twitter’s service, to any other forms of media or distribution method it wishes, including those which Twitter has not yet thought of or developed. Similarly to Facebook, Twitter’s license also allows it to pass any of your content to any partner organizations for any reason.
Google’s most users probably signed up through one of Google’s many online services like Gmail, Google Maps or Google Drive. Luckily Google has a modest set of terms when it comes to user’s content, restricting its use of such content only for “the limited purpose of operating, promoting, and improving our Services, and to develop new ones.”
From the above information I’ve deduced that basically, my entire online profiles are not owned by me, but the social media companies to use as they see fit. After learning all of this I am now much more weary in opening up new social media pages on mew platforms. I would do much more in-depth research before joining and I would at least read parts of the terms and conditions, well at least the parts that I understand. It gives me a little of the control back from the online life.
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