Facebook alters privacy policy: Is your personal data now 'fair game'?

Facebook alters privacy policy: Is your personal data now 'fair game'?

Summary: Facebook is making changes to its terms of service which will change the way you use the site. If you do not like the changes you have until tomorrow to comment. Or you can just delete your account.

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Facebook is making several changes to its terms of service which will change the way you use the site.  If you do not like the changes you have until later today to comment.  Or you can delete your Facebook account.

Firstly the term 'Privacy Policy' is going away and being replaced with the term 'Data Use Policy'. In a way this is a good change.  Facebook will use the information you provide according to the privacy settings you have specified.  Facebook will however, use all of the data that you have given it.

Credit: Facebook

Credit: Facebook

The Current Privacy policy, now renamed 'Data Use' policy explains how Facebook currently uses your information.  For example:

If you want to hide aspects of your profile, remember that you are only hiding it from being visible to your Facebook friends:

'Currently, your Facebook friend list is always available to the games, applications and websites you use, and your friendships may be visible elsewhere (such as on your friends' profiles or in searches).

Similarly, if you choose to hide your gender, it only hides it on your profile. This is because (Facebook), just like the applications you and your friends use, need(s) to use your gender to refer to you properly on the site'.

Emil has more information on the statement of rights and responsibilities.

Applications now in control?

You could delete your content.  But:

'When you delete IP content, it is deleted in a manner similar to emptying the recycle bin on a computer. However, you understand that removed content may persist in backup copies for a reasonable period of time (but will not be available to others)'.

Facebook applications get a lot more access to your data too.  And it's not only the applications that you have specifically authorised.  Now 'When you, or others who can see your content and information, use an application your content and information is shared with the application'.

Applications that your friends have authorised will now know a lot more about you than before.  Facebook does state that it requires 'applications to respect your privacy, and your agreement with that application will control how the application can use, store, and transfer that content and information'.

More downtime?

Another change to the terms is that Facebook will no longer guarantee uptime:

WE DO NOT GUARANTEE THAT FACEBOOK WILL ALWAYS BE AVAILABLE, ACCESSIBLE, UNINTERRUPTED, SAFE, OR SECURE OR ERROR-FREE OR THAT FACEBOOK WILL ALWAYS FUNCTION WITHOUT DISRUPTIONS, DELAYS OR IMPERFECTIONS.

This is a change from the original wording of:

WE DO NOT GUARANTEE THAT FACEBOOK WILL BE SAFE OR SECURE.

Be prepared for other worldwide outages such as the one that happened across Europe earlier this month.

Facebook has posted a statement of Rights and Responsibilities and you can comment on the changes on the Facebook Site Governance page. Remember you only have until March 22nd to comment.

Businesses may relish the changes -- after all they are trying to market their goods and services and bring targeted advertising to your Facebook profile.  But will this change impact the way that Facebook users continue to share information with each other?

As many users will not be aware of, or will not care about the changes, I think the answer will be a simple 'no'.

Related content:

Topic: Social Enterprise

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31 comments
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  • You do realize this existed to be heard right?

    You do of course realize this link was listed on a few sites and you could post your input on it right on Facebook?

    http://www.facebook.com/notes/facebook-site-governance/statement-of-rights-and-responsibilities-update/10151420037600301
    wpreece
  • Altering and Bypassing Security

    If they are bypassing your Privacy Settings that's the same as Hacking your security same as someone breaking in your PC. What can stop which content they steal from your machine what it monitors? This is going beyond reasonable control and power. Same as using your FB and social logins to get into everything you use or do. Somewhere there has to be a limit and it's getting out of hand here.

    Most people are against it and they don't care, most governments are against it they don't care, it's like the song from the Eagles Hotel California. Relax said the night man we are all programed to receive you can check out anytime you like but you can never leave!!!

    I would think Microsoft and Mozillia, Firefox would be all over these sites bypassing the security features. Of course if they do it then anyone else can do it that gives users a false sense of security cause some social network site now decides it can change the rules as will. Yet it's laws being broken, privacy eliminated and these people are gaining access to your whole life. Beyond friends and family around you.

    There is a time to put the breaks on and say enough already!!!
    wpreece
  • Proper privacy will require federal legislation

    If you can't delete something then it's not your data. If cloud storage is the future then we need federal legislation to require all services to permanently delete your data immediately upon request.
    AnalogJoystick
    • RE: Proper privacy will require federal legislation

      you can delete your data. FB just can't assure the data isn't contained on a backup tape. that's the nature of tape backups. their sole purpose is to contain and restore data that was deleted off servers. you have to wait for the tapes to get old enough to complete their life cycle before the archived data is eliminated.
      dinkosaurus
      • You cannot delete your FB account.

        Go and give it a go, nothing will happen. Delete your account, reset your pc (if you wish, it is not necessary), start your browser go to FB type in yur user name and password and you are back where you left off.

        I delete my account 2 years ago, I went back as a site I use puts info up on FB, the account was still there and was exactly how I left it. FB does nothing to your data if you ask for it to be deleted, unlike our friends at Google who delete everything if you ask.

        FB is an evil site allowing a lot of people to be the lowest of the low, just watch any chat show to see the nightmares FB has created. I drop in once in a blue moon to see one page and then I have to clear cookies just to make sure FB is not following me around all day. Bloody horrid site, I cannot wait till it disappears.
        Horus418
  • facebook sucks

    Don't like this part:

    Facebook applications get a lot more access to your data too. And it???s not only the applications that you have specifically authorised. Now ???When you, or others who can see your content and information, use an application your content and information is shared with the application???.

    Applications that your friends have authorised will now know a lot more about you than before. Facebook does state that it requires ???applications to respect your privacy, and your agreement with that application will control how the application can use, store, and transfer that content and information???.



    Although this part: WE DO NOT GUARANTEE THAT FACEBOOK WILL BE SAFE OR SECURE.

    Is funny as its so true ;)
    ShqTth
    • De-Facebook

      I don't authorize my info for my friends apps. And what if that person is a person that you don't know just added them by mistake and they use an app to hardvest info. time to delete people from my friends list so 3rd party apps don't have access to my info. I have to de-facebook my facebook.
      ShqTth
      • friends only

        My info is friends only and some is friends of friends, not apps of friends. or apps of friends of friends.
        ShqTth
  • No more facebook privacy!!!

    This seems there is no more privacy with facebook, we are all vulnerable with all the changes they had made and I hate how facebook control us. I have seen a site wherein more issue have taken up about facebook, this is so helpful. It's Avoidfacebook .com there's a lot here about issues regarding facebook.
    Martin Darion
    • The Internet is a public network, so

      why on earth does anybody think that the information on there is also not public? Anybody that wants your information that you put on the Internet, no matter where or which part of it, can obtain it for more or less effort. Facebook is just making it a bit less effort than it used to be. The simple rule for all Internet users is this: consider everything you put out there public information, especially on social networks. Even your most sensitive banking information is available to those with the power and/or the money necessary to obtain it.
      arminw
  • I have a very simple solution.

    DON'T USE FARCEBOOK...or any other of these inane social networking sites.
    IT_Fella
    • Elegant solution...

      Facebook or any of the other social networking sites are nothing other than data mines for advertisers and targets for scammers.

      If you want to delete your account change all your personal data to nonsense data and update all your photos to the same photo of you giving them the finger.
      Beechcraft
  • Data Use Policy

    This is the correct term. It's Facebook's data. It's on their servers. You get to use their service and products for free and they get to use all your data.

    It's quite simple, really.
    bb_apptix
    • No such thing as "free"

      free is really not, and neither is freedom...
      godsdragon
  • Apps of Friends have access?

    I don't like the sound of that...I don't use any of the cheesy apps FB offers. Why should a friends decision to play or use apps allow access to my content? Thats like giving my friends the right to share any of my private information. In the real world that can often lead to ending a friendship but in the cyber world it's A OKAY! This is BS and so is FB. Now that they are an IPO they want to position themselves to make money...well my days are numbered on FB.
    Rob.sharp
    • Wrong info in this post

      Rob, the author of this post got the the piece about apps wrong. If you go to privacy settings there is a section entitled "How people bring your info to apps they use" there you can turn all access from friends access off.
      Peterdtza
  • Odd wording

    I'm no lawyer but does this wording make sense?:
    " However, you understand that removed content may persist in backup copies for a reasonable period of time (but will not be available to others)."

    No, I don't understand; you are telling it to me but that does not mean I understand.
    dpatjhh
    • So you better understand......

      Large data businesses use terabyte hard drives that are only available as magnetic platter drives. There is allocated cache on this drive for the operating system to hold deleted data. In this case of Facebook, though your account has been deleted they have not disclosed the length of time before purging your data completely.

      My view is this, for Facebook to provide a general purpose policy in regard to purging satisfactory account information that benefits the company's marketing image it will have to come from regulators at the SEC. In other words; once you have opened an account you're stuck in the background forever under the current Bush Deregulation of Wall Street.

      Just go with it! But, remember it wasn't a Liberal Democrat that did this to you.
      Zurk_Orkin
      • Oh, we understand...

        We understand that deregulation at the SEC resulted in Facebook creating an information retention and access policy that you don't like. Yup. Bush did it. Of course. President Obama, had he but known the extent of the damage Bush and his cronies did, would have fixed it. But the most intelligent, best-liked, nearest-to-God (only a single step above the Almighty) President ever in the history of the universe (and before) just DID NOT KNOW. Crafty ol' Bush so cleverly hid his evil regulatory changes that no one could have known.

        Except you.

        You are obviously smarter than Him, and one must wonder why you didn't warn the President of the impending disaster that is this Facebook Folly.

        You dolt! The tired refrain of blaming Bush has just reached the point of preposterousness. Dry up and blow away. The point of the article was to alert readers to changes in FB's data use policy, not to start a flippin' political flame war, chump. Having thrown down the gauntlet, however, I'll pick it up. This decision was made by whom? A liberal Democrat, or more specifically, the people a lib put in charge of writing and implementing his business's policies. So, you choice in-duh-vidual, you're flat wrong. Under the doctrine that the person at the top is responsible for every action taken by his or her people, this WAS done to us by a lib.

        Of course, what is the way to fix it? I know! We demand more regulations, more laws...yeah...that's the ticket. Giving more power and authority to our "benevolent government" will fix everything, make it right as rain, it will! After all, the government only wants to help us, protect us from evil-doers and our own, poor, helpless, hapless selves.

        People with that attitude don't deserve the few freedoms they (and we) have left. The sad part is that they'll drag the rest of us freedom-yearning people into their Utopian tyranny with them...

        Look, the real answer has already been posted here. If you don't like it, leave Facebook. Try using a phone to keep in touch with friends and family. Maybe even try that good ol' standby: write a letter. If this new policy irritates enough people into leaving the service, maybe they'll (GASP!) react to the market and institute a new policy.

        Hmmm. Market forces. I may be onto something here...

        Nah. It will never work. Tailoring services to suit *customers*?? Impossible to fathom any success in THAT strategy.
        m-r@...
  • Alternative?

    I created an alternative for ultra private sharing and you can use it for free. However, you have to be willing to put up with a site that has no games, no third party apps, no adverts, no friends-of-friends features, no inherited access to any of your content, no chance that anything you share will ever show up in search engine results and many security options. That's a lot to put up with. This site is only for serious privacy advocates. If you are interested, Google "private secure encrypted" and my site should be the first non-ad result (Hint: TT).
    MrPrivacy