Ask an Engineer: What do you think of the Facebook Terms of Service Flap?
If you haven't been paying attention to this week's flap on Facebook's revised terms of service - posted three days ago and retracted today - Andrew Lavelle of the Wall Street Journal published a good recap today.
Lavelle quotes Techcrunch's Erik Shonfeld: “If I upload a picture which I later regret uploading, why shouldn’t I be able to erase it from Facebook forever, even if some of my friends have already seen it?”
Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg's Monday 5:09PM post said:
"Our philosophy is that people own their information and control who they share it with.
When a person shares information on Facebook, they first need to grant Facebook a license to use that information so that we can show it to the other people they've asked us to share it with. Without this license, we couldn't help people share that information.
When a person shares something like a message with a friend, two copies of that information are created—one in the person's sent messages box and the other in their friend's inbox. Even if the person deactivates their account, their friend still has a copy of that message. We think this is the right way for Facebook to work, and it is consistent with how other services like email work. One of the reasons we updated our terms was to make this more clear. "
1) Grant Facebook rights subject what you ever posted to your Wall or someone else's Wall subject to your privacy settings which you can change at any time.
2) Grant Facebook rights to use copies of your content (the copyrighted email message model) that you post to your Wall or someone else’s Wall directly or using a third party’s Facebook API.
Zuckerberg argues that the content of your Wall might disappear or be restricted based on your privacy settings (or disappear if you cancel your account), but whatever you've posted to someone else's Wall might be retained by Facebook - and deleted or restricted by the owner of that Wall.
"You are solely responsible for the User Content that you Post on or through the Facebook Service.
You hereby grant Facebook an irrevocable, perpetual, non-exclusive, transferable, fully paid, worldwide license (with the right to sublicense) to (a) use, copy, publish, stream, store, retain, publicly perform or display, transmit, scan, reformat, modify, edit, frame, translate, excerpt, adapt, create derivative works and distribute (through multiple tiers), any User Content you (i) Post on or in connection with the Facebook Service or the promotion thereof subject only to your privacy settings or (ii) enable a user to Post, including by offering a Share Link on your website and (b) to use your name, likeness and image for any purpose, including commercial or advertising, each of (a) and (b) on or in connection with the Facebook Service or the promotion thereof. You represent and warrant that you have all rights and permissions to grant the foregoing licenses. "
My reading of this was a promise to respect an individuals privacy settings for whatever that individual posted to their own Wall or anyone else's Wall - directly or indirectly - in exchange for rights to copy distribute that content.
I read Monday's version as a promise to track sharing rules based on Facebook privacy settings as you may change them over time.
For comparison, Traction TeamPage uses run-time transclusion with permission checking to grant or deny access to to posts, pages, comment and tags (as well as what you can see by navigating, searching, Jabber or email notification and RSS/
The TeamPage model uses permissions attached to the content of specific work spaces rather than individuals, but allows private comments in one space (e.
This makes it easy add or remove a person from the access list of the Support project, and instantly change the page content, comments, tag clouds and search results that person can see.