The Facebook Brouhaha – yeah you’re mad, but did you leave?

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What I saw happen yesterday – a LOT of people blogging, twittering and linking to articles about Facebook’s change to their Terms of Service. ( If you don’t know about it see links at the bottom. I’m not writing about that, 50 bagillion other people already have.)

What I didn’t see happening – a mass exodus of friends from Facebook. I hear some people are removing content, but they aren’t leaving (I’m sure someone will leave a comment pointing out people who have left)

I even asked on Twitter this morning – did you delete your account? As of writing this no one has answered yes.

What this tells me – that people are mad at Facebook, maybe even really really mad, but they aren’t mad enough to leave.  Which means, that whatever they are getting from Facebook, they are willing to accept the new TOS to get it.

Now what that means is a whole different blog post. ;-)

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9 comments for “The Facebook Brouhaha – yeah you’re mad, but did you leave?

  1. J
    February 17, 2009 at 11:15 am

    While I feel that Facebook’s founder is unethical, it still doesn’t entirely detract from the fact that he created a great service. I’ve been using FB for a few years now and have found value in it. I think that you always have to consider the venue in which you share information and this serves as a reminder. I doubt we’ll see a mass exodus until someone develops something that does what FB does, but does it better. Until then…

  2. February 17, 2009 at 11:18 am

    I think that the FB service is too valuable to give up, as troubled as I may be by the implications of this. I think the thing to do is “push back” and insist that FB clean up its act. I know I just connected with friends I haven’t seen in 15 years, I couldn’t give that up easily….

  3. February 17, 2009 at 11:44 am

    Since I’m barely on facebook anyway, I don’t really feel the need to leave. Like other said, I will stop automatically feeding any content into it- flickr, blog, etc. I will continue to use it to coordinate events, but I will ask that people not post pics of me to facebook.

  4. February 17, 2009 at 12:20 pm

    Bobbi,

    I am not leaving Facebook, and luckily I don’t have too many photos on the site… So that just leaves my written comments and updates.

    What troubles me is the fact that Facebook doesn’t seem to understand how their words in the TOS are affecting their users.

    Mark Zuckerberg, founder of Facebook, says in a blog post that Facebook’s philosophy is that people own their information, and that they will remain in control of their property.

    However, when the TOS states that “You hereby grant Facebook an irrevocable, perpetual, non-exclusive, transferable, fully paid, worldwide license (with the right to sublicense)…”, I am worried about the double speak.

    I sincerely hope that they clear this issue up soon so that we users have a minimum of stress – and so that FB doesn’t lose any more credibility than they have already.

  5. Peter Bromberg
    February 17, 2009 at 12:32 pm

    You interpret my continued presence on facebook as acceptance of the new TOS, but I don’t think that one necessarily follows from the other.

    I might be mad enough to leave if Facebook came out today and said, “yeah, that’s right, we own it all.” But they didn’t. They backtracked. They clarified. The story is still “developing” as they say. I’m not convinced that their intention was ever as broad as Consumerist has characterized it.

    Reason to be concerned? Yes. Reason to pay attention to how this develops? Absolutely. Reason to delete my investment (and that’s what my hours of messages, uploads, comments, etc. are–an investment of my time)? No, not yet… I think that would be rash and likely something I’d regret.

  6. February 17, 2009 at 1:36 pm

    I didn’t know there was a 24-hour deadline for us to withdraw before we lose our respectability. :)

    As others have said, I’ve stopped my feeds into Facebook and I’m waiting to see what develops in the meantime. Given that Facebook has already begun responding to the backlash I figure it would be a hasty move to delete my account instead of taking part in the ongoing “negotiations” between Facebook and its users.

    Anyone interested in taking part in the conversation can join the anti-TOS groups that popped up in the hours following the TOS update.

  7. February 17, 2009 at 1:51 pm

    Everyone makes really great points. Personally I do believe it’s better to stay on and try to change the service, which is part of why I linked to Cliff, he points out that FB did back pedal, just not far enough.

    I also wonder if issue will loose attention in a day or two when something new comes along. Or will the people up in arms continue to push back?

    My techie/librarian friends are the only ones who have mentioned this, and I think yes some of them might eventually delete their accounts. But I think the majority of people either didn’t notice or didn’t care about the TOS. I do wonder what that says about the digital age and what we’re willing to give up to connect with others online.

  8. February 17, 2009 at 11:44 pm

    Hi Bobbi

    Good point. Despite the controversy, most people are going to keep using Facebook. I don’t see that changing but perhaps this controversy will have created more of an awareness about the importance and implications of a terms of use and the licenses they contain.

    Zuckerberg’s post does clarify Facebook’s intentions but the terms of use should reflect those intentions better. These terms of use don’t and while I am slow to suggest Zuckerberg is being dishonest in his post (I don’t know much about him so it isn’t fair to suggest that), the fact that the terms of use remain as they are should temper the message in his post.

    Thanks for the link to my post.

  9. Joe
    February 22, 2009 at 2:36 am

    why would Facebook risk messing up a good thing by edging in on people’s intellectual property? they had people’s trust and then they go and risk losing it; not smart.

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