If Facebook is the new "Internet portal", why are you not supposed to do business on it? (aka more on Facebook's TOS, privacy (or the actual lack thereof), content license, etc.)
Last week I wrote about Facebook's Terms of Service and the fact that they basically own all the content you upload, but over the weekend legal student and blogger Andres Flusche wrote: "Facebook Isn't Private, and 7 Other Things You Should Know". He nicely summarize the content licensing issue (that was at the heart of my own post on the subject) with this:
In plain English, this means you’re giving up copyright control of your material. If you upload a photo to Facebook, they can sell copies of it without paying you a cent. If you write lengthy notes (or import your blog posts!), Facebook can turn them into a book, sell a million copies, and pay you nothing. This deserves careful consideration!
Indeed it does deserve careful consideration! For instance, I'm debating whether the additional visibility garnered by importing this blog's postings into Facebook Notes balances out with the fact that, as Andres notes, Facebook can do whatever they want with them. For the moment, I'm continuing to import my entries... but I'm debating and may very well stop the import.
Another point he makes is the "personal use only" nature of Facebook. He quotes the Facebook Terms of Service:
You understand that except for advertising programs offered by us on the Site (e.g., Facebook Flyers, Facebook Marketplace), the Service and the Site are available for your personal, non-commercial use only.
One wonders then, how Facebook aims to be the "social operating system" if it is all to be for your "personal, non-commercial use only". What about the large number of "business" users flocking to Facebook? If I bring in my business contacts is that a personal or commercial use? What if we exchange Facebook messages about a potential opportunity?
His other points about the ability to change the terms, legal issues, etc. are well worth a read.