The awful hypocrisy of facebook

I consider myself as not techno-phobic and open to new ideas and monster_maskevolutions in our social interactions. However, from time to time I hear concerns about human rights in facebook social network. So I looked at the terms of use of facebook. This is something I should have done before joining this social network, but I remember I press the button “I agree with terms of use” mechanically, anyway I was eagerly wanting to learn about this new social media and in any case I could leave later If I wouldn’t like it (so naive to think so!). So now I read the terms of use (last revised on February 4, 2009) and I feel very angry. Although I have no law expertise I think there is no respect to human and individual’s rights. Below are the sections that drive me mad (from February 4th, 2009 revision).

“We reserve the right, at our sole discretion, to change or delete portions of these Terms at any time without further notice. Your continued use of the Facebook Service after any such changes constitutes your acceptance of the new Terms.” What this means? Do I have to check the terms of use everyday to see if there is a revision? Is this possible? Why guys you impose such a term? Wouldn’t have been more fair to send a notification mail when there is a revision? Why facebook wants to be able to change terms without noticing users? This term makes me suspicious, at least.

“If you are between the ages of 13 and 17, we strongly suggest that you seek parental consent to use the Facebook Service.” This is a term to laugh with. I thin it is not applicable. There is no teenager who is going to ask for parental consent. I think facebook wants to show that is responsible but I think this term is a pure hypocrisy. The ages between 13 and 17 are were the future and best clients are recruited and of course facebook doesn’t want to miss them. But what a hypocrisy!

“You hereby grant Facebook an irrevocable, perpetual, non-exclusive, transferable, fully paid, worldwide license (with the right to sublicense) to (a) use, copy, publish, stream, store, retain, publicly perform or display, transmit, scan, reformat, modify, edit, frame, translate, excerpt, adapt, create derivative works and distribute (through multiple tiers), any User Content you … (b) to use your name, likeness and image for any purpose, including commercial or advertising …” Again I want to state that I am not a lawyer but I think this is very bad and dangerous. No respect to my personality. Why not to have a social media service that respects my rights and treats me like a human being? I want to own the intellectual rights of my personal photos, of my own thoughts and of my own artifacts.

Of course in terms of use it is clear stated that use of the service is at my own risk. And I could have chosen not to join. I voluntarily joined this social network and agreed with terms of use. To some extent this is right. But users join facebook or continue to flock to facebook, because it’s there where their friends are. So everybody can deny facebook but there is a social pressure. Remember the term about ages 13 to 17. These are the ages where people are more vulnerable to social pressure. Teens are doing what their classmates are doing. They are imitating and try to appear cool and renowned. May be there is a choice for me not to join facebook. But for a teenager there is not such a choice. That’s why it is a great hypocrisy.

Another concern I have is the possibility of leaving facebook. Well actually you can check out any time you like, but you can never leave… Users of facebook are unable to completely their profiles, even after “deactivating” their accounts. The users’ personal information (including photos) remains on facebook’s servers even after a user deactivates his/her account, though no longer “accessible”. However, the account can be activated again at any time. Users who wish to completely remove their private information must log in and delete manually all profile’s content, then deactivate the empty account. However, email information persists. May be in no other social network is so difficult to delete your account. Steven Mansour provides further info of how to get rid of facebook in his “2504 steps to closing your facebook account” (www.stevenmansour.com).

I don’t like the idea of letting a private cooperation (even a public orginization) owns my private data and handle it in a malicious way. And I don’t like facebook to disrespect my human rights. And I don’t like a company to capitalize and utilize my human need for social networking in the information society. I want a hybrid society human-centric not company-centric. New social media does not necessarily means less human rights and knowledge is power. We have to demand our rights granted or move to other social networks.

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One response to “The awful hypocrisy of facebook

  • Joe

    It makes no sense that Facebook would 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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