Can Facebook be Trusted

Posted by: soulotomy

Can Facebook be Trusted - 02/27/09 06:27 PM

From SitePoint:

There's been a bit of hoo-ha over recent changes to Facebook's Terms of Service with the social networking site looking to own everything you upload "... in any way they deem fit, forever, no matter what you do later." It becomes particularly a bit messy when your privacy settings are subjected to these terms.

Facebook are now continually being seen as trying to get hold of your data and basically saying "Trust us."

Users quickly rallied against the new Terms of Service and Facebook backed down quicker than I would if Mike Tyson challenged me to a fight.

When users went to delete their accounts they were directed to their carefully couched retraction: "Are you deleting because you're concerned about Facebook's Terms of Service? This was a mistake that we have now corrected. You own the information you put on Facebook and you control what happens to it. We are sorry for the confusion."

Ummm, confusion?! There was no confusion. Facebook tried to own the rights to every single bit of content their users upload to their Facebook account. Users saw it and started moving away in droves.

Perhaps the message should have read: "Darn! You're onto us! Okay, okay ... let's ignore what just happened. Let's be friends again. We'll never try anything like this again. Honest!"

But can you be sure about Facebook now?

After industry rumors for years that Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg swiped the idea and much of the code from online community, ConnectU, a Los Angeles law firm let slip that Facebook paid $US65 million to settle a lawsuit around that allegation.

While the full details of the settlement are confidential and there's been no admission of guilt, it begs the question: can Facebook be trusted?

It seems to me that Facebook lacks a decent track record, fails to consult with their members in any meaningful way, and are considered untrustworthy by their users.

However, it's such a massive player in the social media space that you'd be crazy to disregard it altogether (as detailed in last week's SitePoint Tribune). As with any contractual arrangement, keep your eyes open and proceed cautiously.