FACEBOOK'S PERPETUALLY BUSY legal department has taken time out of its daily schedule to completely rewrite sections of the company's terms of service. The areas tweaked include content removal, intellectual property rights and how Facebook makes money.
That last point should be mandatory reading for politicians looking to question Mark Zuckerberg, to avoid wasting everybody's time. Appropriately enough, simplifying the user agreement was actually a suggestion from one senator in the same hearing, although it's more likely the European Commission that's won the day here.
So what's changed? Well, for starters the content removal part now discusses "restricting content," probably as a backlash to Facebook's slow reaction to the misleadingly edited Nancy Pelosi video and constant drip-feed of conspiracy theory nonsense.
Another section now outlines an appeals process, should you think your all-important content has been taken down unfairly. And if you had any illusions that Facebook terms were now a nice easy read, this should quickly change your mind:
"If we remove content that you have shared in violation of our Community Standards, we'll let you know and explain any options you have to request another review, unless you seriously or repeatedly violate these Terms or if doing so may expose us or others to legal liability; harm our community of users; compromise or interfere with the integrity or operation of any of our services, systems or products; where we are restricted due to technical limitations; or where we are prohibited from doing so for legal reasons."
...yes, that's a single sentence.
On the bright side, Facebook has hopefully killed off that age-old ‘claiming copyright' meme doing the rounds by reassuring members that the company does not own the rights to anything you upload. It just has permission to use it as long as it's on the site.
Facebook also covers what happens when you delete something. The long and short of it is that all traces will vanish, along with Facebook's rights to show it, within 90 days. Unless you happen to have shared it with others, in which case it'll be on them to remove it too.
Finally, there's a bit on how Facebook makes money. "We don't sell your personal data," the company solemnly begins. "We allow advertisers to tell us things like their business goal and the kind of audience they want to see their ads (for example, people between the age of 18-35 who like cycling). We then show their ad to people who might be interested."
The new terms will go live for everyone on July 31, so you have a little time to enjoy yourself within Facebook's existing rules until then. You can preview the updated version here. µ
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