Thursday, February 19, 2009

Facebook Backs Down

The twits on Twitter.com reached record proportion the last few days as news spread about Facebook's new terms of service. Foul was cried and many Facebook members rushed to their sites and removed items to prevent them from belonging to Facebook in perpetuity. To protect members of my network, I promptly removed the Book Place video and photo feeds to Facebook. Then I removed my own personal photos.

Here's one link on the matter:
http://www.canada.com/Entertainment/Facebook+about+face+content+rights/1301996/story.html

For more information, if you're a Twitter user, sign in, go to the bottom of the page, click search, type #Facebooktos and you'll see all sorts of enlightening tidbits and links.

As of Wednesday, Facebook, realizing the repercussions of the fallout of unhappy campers, backed off from the new terms and switched back to the old ones, with a promise of studying the matter thoroughly before making or revising another set. With news of the reversal, I downloaded my profile pic again to my Facebook account, but don't plan to overdo it until I'm more comfortable with the situation.

The same thing that made Facebook so popular threatened to destroy it. For now, it appears the danger has passed. And how was the reversal achieved? By social networking. People spoke out.

One person may not make a difference, but collectively we pack a wallop.

What are your feelings about Facebook and its terms of service? Were you aware of what happened? Do you trust them? Or, maybe you don't have a Facebook account. Please share.

20 comments:

  1. I'm not on Facebook, but I heard about it through Twitter and other blogs. You're right, it was the power of the people ranting about it that caused Facebook to back off. Hopefully, it'll be that same power that keeps them from slipping it back in.

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  2. Of all my accounts - Twitter, MySpace, Facebook - Facebook is the one I've always hated. I'm only on Facebook because it's good for promotion - that's it. Facebook has a number of problems -including shutting down the accounts of erotica writers. This has happened to a number of erotica writers I know. Some have fought back and had their accounts reinstated. As an author, Facebook is too big of a giant to not have an account, but I prefer Twitter or MySpace.

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  3. I wasn't aware of it until I read some of your posts. I don't like Facebook and do as little in there as possible so ...

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  4. The Facebook stumble and fallback is an example of how stockholders can influence companies, large and small. Now if there was only a way to get stockholders in the traditional business world (GE, Chrysler, ING, etc) to adopt similar methods, maybe we'd fashion a better world in which circumstances like this one we're living through right now are stopped before they get out of hand.

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  5. Carl,
    You have a good point. I can't understand how stocks go up and down every time someone makes any kind of statement to the press. We need some positive thinking over there for one thing.

    Morgan Mandel
    http://twitter.com/morganmandel

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  6. I had read so many people's comments about Facebook that I dropped by there to open an account. I read their information and decided that as a writer giving my rights away wasn't the brightest thing I could do. I never went back
    Bill

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  7. I've been a member of FB for a week... There's something to be said for the promo opportunities, certainly, but I wasn't pleased by the goings-on these past few days, and even though they backed down, I can't say I trust them...

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  8. I hadn't heard about it until recently, but my husband the computer guru had an interesting observation. The change in rules wasn't so that they could own or use everyone's stuff - it was so that when someone deleted their account, the FaceBook workers wouldn't have to spend time trying to delete all of their postings on others sites! He says that takes up a lot of manpower & hours and was the real motivation behind the change.

    L. Diane Wolfe
    www.circleoffriendsbooks.blogspot.com
    www.spunkonastick.net
    www.thecircleoffriends.net

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  9. I realize I didn't truly understand the situation. From what I understand about how the internet works is that when something is up on the internet, it stays there regardless. It seems to me that if you are willing to post "your" stuff on any site, then you had pretty much be willing to see it used without your consent, stolen, posted on other sites, etc.

    It is a bit analogous to leaving your personal property in a public place. Don't leave your dinner on a park bench, walk away, then be upset because someone else eats it! The internet is the most public of all public places.

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  10. HM - I have a facebook site but haven't done much with it yet. Thanks for this heads-up, I'll check it out and watch carefully before loading up stuff on it.

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  11. I have a facebook account, but to be honest, only go there when people leave a message or I have some request or other to approve. though myspace is slower, I tend to lean towards it more (and even at that I rarely go at the moment.)

    So needless to say, I hadn't heard about this until I popped over here today. Kids are a bit all to excited these last few days for me to focus on much. ;)

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  12. YAY! THE POWER OF PEOPLE! Wahoo! I'm glad everyone stood up to them! this is awesome news! jenni

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  13. I love Facebook the best- it's like a huge cocktail party. I get a kick out of reading status updates.

    That said, I have always assumed everything I put on the internet-even my own website- was up for public consumption and would therefore be used, stolen, etc. by others. Thinking this way is how I edit myself.

    Great blog, Morgan.

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  14. I'm curious. Just what content could they actually steal and get away with it? You can't steal book covers...what else goes up on Facebook? Email addresses maybe?

    I love Facebook. I heard about this on the news the other day and I see Facebook has backed down. Of all the places I have been having success with networking is Facebook. For me, I'm staying.

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  15. I haven't got an account for either my name or pseudonym,Sapphire Phelan, and after hearing about this, not planning to for now. I have a MySpace and it can get screwy a lot. Have a twitter account since end of January. I only have these for promoting my books and stories.

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  16. I've been on facebook for a while now - over a year, I think. Honestly, I enjoy it just for the games and being able to keep up with family/friends and check out their new pics of their kids, etc. It's also been a great way to meet new people with the same interests as I have. I have not kept up at all on this problem and did not even know there were issues.

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  17. I think all authors need to research the changing intellectual property rights laws particularly as they apply to the Internet. It's very complicated and one cannot be cavalier about the potential negative issues. You may think you own the rights to your bookcover, but that may not hold up in court. You must read and understand the TOS (Terms of Service) for every platform you use on the Internet. They are all different. Blogging TOS are especially murky.

    Dani
    http://bloodredpencil.blogspot.com

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  18. I have a Facebook account, but don't do a lot with it. Since hearing about this new TOS I probably won't do much more. No, I don't trust them. Note they only said they were going to 'consider' their next move. Maybe just find a new legal way of doing the same thing but making it less obvious.

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  19. I also deleted my photos. I don't like Facebook, and keep it only for promotion.

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  20. I've recently begun doing more with Facebook and have met some new people through it. I don't do too much with it, but I was following this. From what I read, as Diane's husband said, they had a different reason in mind for doing it than people took it to mean. At least it's good that they listened to the outcry and changed their mind.

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