Status Update: Facebook=Drama, OMG!

I have been a loyal Facebook addict since 2005. I update my status regularly, write on people’s walls, post photos, tag photos, join groups, add/reject friends–you name it, I do it. I love Facebook. But lately I’ve been reconsidering my extensive and committed relationship with the website. I’m starting to look for interviews and jobs, so I want to better my “personal brand image” on the web. Not that my Facebook is filled with incriminating photos or inappropriate status updates, but it’s nice to present myself as a decent person to future employers. facebook-boy1

However, I know many of my peers are worried about their Facebook image (especially the ones with incriminating photos) being seen by future employers. And now, they may have more reason to worry. On February 4, 2009, Facebook changed their Terms of Use, much to the dismay of many. An article in The Consumerist helps to explain what the new Terms of Service really mean. The new Terms of Use for Facebook basically state that they own your content, even if you delete your account. 

“The following sections will survive any termination of your use of the Facebook Service: Prohibited Conduct, User Content, Your Privacy Practices, Gift Credits, Ownership; Proprietary Rights, Licenses, Submissions, User Disputes; Complaints, Indemnity, General Disclaimers, Limitation on Liability, Termination and Changes to the Facebook Service, Arbitration, Governing Law; Venue and Jurisdiction and Other.”

The article advises not to post anything that you don’t want to give up the rights to, because Facebook now owns all of your user content. Since these Terms of Use are now being highly discussed, there have been Facebook groups created to protest the new Terms of Use.

I think that if Facebook wants to make changes like this to their Terms of Service, it would have been a good PR move to notify users ahead of time that these changes were being made. At the same time, users should already know that with a social networking site like this one, their content will be shared to everyone–so be cautious about what you post! 

For more layman’s terms about Facebook’s changes, I suggest you read Chris Walter’s article in The Consumerist

And for everyone who is concerned about their current user content being owned by Facebook indefinitely, there’s not much you can do now. However, it’s still a good idea to clean up your Facebook page if you are worried about your personal brand image–it can’t hurt to look good! 


(Photo: Tom Rydquist)


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