The Internet is in a Red Alert uproar today over changes to the Facebook Terms of Service.
Basically, Facebook is saying to everyone, You upload it, we pWn it!!
Google allowed old boilerplate to survive vetting of its End-User License Agreement during the initial release of its Chrome browser. That raised a storm of protest and Google soon clarified the situation and rescinded the boilerplate.
On Facebook’s part, this looks like a deliberate mass theft.
This is not good for the Palm Pre, which has Facebook as a major partner. Facebook is integrated into Synergy from the very beginning. What good will that do if everyone abandons Facebook in disgust?
Some people on Twitter have stated that their own accounts have little more than game scores and such, so why worry? I think that’s dangerously shortsighted. Pioneers in television, for example, wound up selling the rights to their works for pennies, never thinking there would be a perpetual repeat market or secondary home video (VHS, DVD) market. And now there are television repeats on the Internet itself! Who can say what stuff considered trivial today will be valuable twenty years from now?
Personal note: I have a Facebook account. I rarely check in. I’m not a Facebook fan.
Update: Mona parses out the value of “trivia” in her post, Facebook Change of Policy: Why You Should Care
Second Update: Facebook says it’s all a misunderstanding. Having faced onerous contracts in my life, let me tell you that the only thing that matters is what’s in writing and what a lawyer can do with that. Facebook needs to go back and make it even clearer. Right now, it reads like a license to steal.