Did Facebook Changed its TOS Without Informing Us?

If last week’s blog highlights was about the good things happening on Facebook, this week started off with a not so good publicity for the social networking site. The latest buzz to greet us early on was about a report by Consumerist regarding some changes with Facebook’s Terms of Services. Quite frankly, did you actually read that TOS before you signed up to Facebook?Anyway the Consumerist pointed out the Facebook has altered some essential elements of its TOS particularly the question on what happens to the contents you’ve uploaded and shared on Facebook, if you close your account?

Whereas previously Facebook’s TOS clearly stated that when you leave Facebook, the site will no longer have the license to distribute your content, although it may retain copies for archival purposes. The clause explaining this was “deliberately” removed from the new TOS.

So basically by signing up to Facebook, you are hereby giving the site full jurisdiction and ownership of whatever content you plan to publish on Facebook. Loosely translated, you are giving Facebook content ownership until like, well forever.

Of course, if you’re a Facebook user and you’ve read something like this, your normal reaction would be to get appalled. But, if you are like me who never bothered to read Facebook’s old TOS when I created my account, this won’t bother you at all. In fact, I never really read the TOS of all the social networking sites that I’ve joined in. I have this understanding that the fact that those social networks are public sites who host your content give them the right to do whatever they want to do with your content. Unless you’ve registered for a Commons License to those contents prior to uploading them to Facebook and other social networks.

But still, Facebook should have warned us of such changes, despite stating from the very beginning of its TOS that it has every right to do without prior notice to members.