Facebook users: When a handful is only a couple of fingers

I’m still waiting for the whole Facebook terms of service fracas to fully shake out before I decide what I’m going to do about the minimal content I have posted there.***

But I will say I’ve composed a possible letter in my head to friends, asking them to consider removing photos with me in them since the majority of the me-related content of FB comes from other people. I know I’m not alone here, and it’s something few commentators have mentioned thus far, which is odd. I don’t own that content, and while you could certainly mount a legal challenge against your friends over unlawful use of your image if you really wanted to…do you really want to? Maybe this is the third day story.

You know what’s not helping though? Posts like “Facebook Losing Members Over ‘Terms of Service’ Changes” from Media Bistro’s WebNewser, which mention that a “handful” of users are canceling their accounts then goes on to cite only two people: CNBC’s Becky Quick and the NYT’s Sasha Frere-Jones. One might further question the worth of the piece when one realizes that the post refers to Jones as a woman. Um, he’s not.

*** As I wrote this, I noticed that Facebook posted a mention on its members’ home page, saying it’s going back to its old terms of use. You know what’s unsettling about Facebook? It seems to have an uncanny ability to piss off its user base. Almost like it’s so ignorant of their needs and wants that it tries to push things through despite the possible repercussions, just to see if it can get its way. I wonder why that is.

4 comments for “Facebook users: When a handful is only a couple of fingers

  1. February 18, 2009 at 4:57 pm

    Here’s the thing that people keep missing in the whole facebook debacle.They don’t delete pictures. Ever.Try for yourself. Upload a picture, then, while viewing it as full-size as you can, right-click it and select “view image.” You be given a url in the form:http://photos-c.ak.fbcdn.net/photos-ak-snc1/v2224/149/117/551343828/n551343828_2146754_1996.jpgNow delete the photo from your facebook account and then revist that url. The one I’ve listed is a photo I uploaded to my wall and then deleted. If it goes away (or becomes a picture of something other than a sailboat) you’ll know they’ve changed their policies.

  2. February 19, 2009 at 2:13 pm

    I can't quite get over that worrying about this seems paranoid to me. What can FB do with the photos? I'm in the background of a lot of people's vacation photos at the Bean, too. Should I sue? There's a blue camera at my cross streets. What is the city doing with all that vid of me going to the coffee shop? I'm not trying to be snarky, I like using FB as a way to see & share photos with people – like this girl who posted pics of me and all my friend in 6th grade that I had never seen before and were hilarious. Should I worry that FB might use them for an ad campaign? If they do, should I care?

  3. Sara
    February 19, 2009 at 6:21 pm

    I guess my question is really just why? Why do they want to keep this stuff…why clog their own servers when they don’t have to? What do they plan to do with it? Blackmail perhaps? 😉

  4. February 19, 2009 at 6:25 pm

    If you’ll notice, FB already uses pictures of people to advertise.So you’ll see an ad that says “Steve is a fan of “The Office!” with a picture of your friend Steve there in an ad that says “Watch the Office at 8pm on NBC!” (That’s a hypothetical, not saying The Office actually advertises that way…but others do). So that’s part of what they use the uploaded content for. Others have noted that FB might someday publish a “Best of Facebook” book that has people’s amusing 25 things lists or blog posts or pictures. FWIW, the link Scott provided is still active, perhaps proving that FB does keep your content after you delete it, despite these new TOSs.

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