Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Facebook: Fear and Fun

I've recently joined the great internet boondoggle that is Facebook, and for the most part I'm quite happy with my experience. But do I own the information about myself that I've uploaded or does Facebook? And if Facebook owns it what can they do with it?

It is not a particularly nice question and apparently the answer is murky at best and fairly scary at worst. According a NY Times article today, Facebook appears to claim ownership of all information, including your likeness, that appears on the site. Perhaps most sketchy is that they quietly made changes to the terms of service agreement (which almost no one actually bothers to read). For the details check out the article.

Scary, certainly a little bit. But anytime you put info up on the internet you should do so with the expectation that it is out there and that you won't be able to fully control it. I guess it is part of the trade off for using an interesting, cool, useful service such as Facebook without paying for it.

On a more fun note Slate did some research on the recent 25 things chain post that tore through Facebook. It seems that 25 things spread just like an infectious disease epidemic does, very neat.

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