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The Daily Wildcat

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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Facebook is contemplating profile ownership rights

    Go ahead and breathe a little easier, because all those crazy photos you posted on Facebook.com of your last party are safe – at least for a little while.

    On Feb. 4, the company deleted a clause in its “”Terms of Use”” stating that when users remove their content from the site, Facebook’s license over it expires as well. The company also added a clause stating that it could retain the rights to any data users posted publicly, even after a user deleted it or their account.

    Facebook retreated back to its original terms on Feb. 18, after many users voiced concerns over the update that seemed to grant the company permanent ownership over anything users contributed to the site.

    Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook’s chief executive, wrote in the company’s Feb. 17 blog that the original terms would remain in effect until all the questions and issues brought up by users were addressed – mainly, who controls the content.

    “”Our next version will be a substantial revision from where we are now,”” Zuckerberg said in the blog. “”Since this will be the governing document that we’ll all live by, Facebook users will have a lot of input in crafting these terms.””

    This change went largely unnoticed until a blog called “”The Consumerist,”” owned by a consumers union, sparked the fire by posting about the update, which warned people not to upload anything to Facebook unless they were willing to forfeit their rights to it.

    Jamie Ratner, Professor of Law at the James E. Rogers College of Law, said he didn’t think the terms of service changes would alter the way people used the online networking site.

    “”I don’t predict that (the issue) will have a significant change in the way people approach putting their materials on a social network or on the Internet at large,”” Ratner said. “”There is responsibility on Facebook’s part to make it clear what they want and not hide the terms of what they’re doing behind a lot of text.””

    Despite the amount of outrage from users regarding the initial change, UA music composition senior Joel Kreimeyer-Kelly said people shouldn’t have been so surprised.

    “”People shouldn’t be stupid and put stupid stuff up, more than being angry at Facebook for keeping things,”” he said. “”Anything and everything ends up on the Internet and it gets stored and even things put on 10 years ago, you can find it through Google search.””

    Roughly 600,000 users join the Facebook community daily, bringing its population to more than 175 million, which is more people than live in most countries, Zuckerberg wrote.

    UA elementary education sophomore Katie Mancini said she logs onto Facebook about three times a week and will now look more closely at Web sites’ terms of agreement in the future.

    “”I don’t think it’s fair that (Facebook) should have the rights to whatever you put on there after you delete your account; maybe while you have your account up they have some rights to it,”” she said.

    Even though things are back to the way they were on Facebook, some UA students said they would think twice about what they put on the Internet.

    “”Whatever I put up there, I would have to be OK with my grandmother seeing it,”” Kreimeyer-Kelly said.

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