Share this article

print logo

Surprise! We own you

If you haven't heard already, Facebook is sweeping that nation. With more than 150 million active users, it has become a worldwide phenomenon (even more popular than MySpace).

Recently, I was surfing Facebook and my mouse must have had a spasm and clicked on the "terms of use" icon. Well, since I was there, I thought I might as well glance at the page, and I got a rude awakening.

I read that whatever you upload, post, or share onto Facebook becomes the property of Facebook. As a loyal user of Facebook, I was outraged and unhappy with their decision to make the sudden change. A day later, the news of Facebook claims that they now "own" you had reached every major news network, newspaper, even radio stations. As you would imagine, Facebook got many complaints. Due to enormous amounts of pressure, Facebook last Wednesday changed its policy back to the previous terms.

The new policy was out of line, ridiculous and downright pointless. What could Facebook possibly do with 40 million pictures and 70 million messages sent from users all across the globe? Facebook was out of line, claiming that all property that you share on Facebook was theirs.

When I first read the new policy I was furious, and so were many of my friends who use Facebook as much as I do. First, I don't want my personal messages, notes and pictures to be shared with the executives of Facebook, not that I have anything to hide. Many people who joined Facebook prior to this minor "cosmetic change" as Facebook would call it, found it preposterous and disrespectful of the agreement that they made with users before hand.

Secondly, Facebook did not send out a disclaimer stating that they were going to change their agreement without notifying users before hand. Nowhere on the pages of Facebook did it say, "Terms and agreements are subject to change." If they had put a disclaimer on the page, there would have been no controversy. This isn't a restaurant where you can change the prices of your food without letting people know. Finally, if you ever wanted to delete an account on Facebook and delete all information associated with that account, SORRY, it belongs to Facebook. The social networking site granted itself permission to access wall posts, messages, and even photos after your account is deleted. Many outraged users created blogs, petitions, and groups to fight Facebook's sudden change. Some users even threatened to delete their account if the policy isn't reversed.

Now that users of Facebook have successfully reversed the user policy, all is calm on the networking site. People are back to uploading pictures, writing silly wall posts, poking each other and creating events. It's hard to believe that deleting one sentence from your Terms of Use policy could create so much havoc.

Speaking of Facebook, let me go update my status.

Carl Lam is a junior at Hamburg.

There are no comments - be the first to comment