A short Q&A on Facebook’s commercial use of your photographs
Q: What Did Facebook Do Now?
A: Effective today (September 5th, 2013) Facebook has put into effect new Terms of Service and privacy policies that radically increase Facebook’s power to exploit your content and identity.
Read more here: http://bit.ly/17BElCm
Q: What Do These Changes Let Facebook Do With My Information And Content?
A: Facebook is now able to exploit your name, likeness, content, images, private information, and personal brand by using it in advertising and in commercial and sponsored content — without any compensation to you. Facebook is monetizing not just your images, but a sizable portion of your entire online identity.
Q: I Don’t Share A Lot Of Private Information Or Images On Facebook. What Does This Mean For Me?
A: Facebook is still collecting and exploiting private information about you. It is ASMP’s interpretation that the statement “…when you are using Facebook, or when Facebook is running” allows Facebook to monitor your web browsing, as well as to gather information from your mobile phone while the Facebook mobile app is running such as your location, recent calls, and other mobile activities.
Q: Can’t I Protect Myself By Making My Profile Private?
A: Maybe, but probably not.
Facebook has specifically removed the language from their TOS that allows you to limit how your likeness, information, and content are associated with brands, commercial uses, or sponsored posts. The have also removed the clause that makes them subjects to the privacy limits set in place by you on your profile.
Check out this excerpt from the TOS Changes; the bold text is new additions to the TOS, the strikethroughs are language that is being removed from the TOS. This is one of the most important pieces of language in the whole document.
You can use your privacy settings to limit how your name and profile picture may be associated with commercial, sponsored, or related content (such as a brand you like) served or enhanced by us. You give us permission to use your name, and profile picture,content, and information in connection with commercial, sponsored, or related that content (such as a brand you like) served or enhanced by us, subject to the limits you place. This means, for example, that you permit a business or other entity to pay us to display your name and/or profile picture with your content or information, without any compensation to you. If you have selected a specific audience for your content or information, we will respect your choice when we use it.
Q: I Don’t Use Facebook, So Why Should I Care?
A: One of the things ASMP and its allies are most concerned about is that these usage terms and attitudes towards users’ content are becoming the norm. Facebook is a leader among online communities and services, and as they go, so do several others. Turning a blind eye to these changes simply because you do not use one service ignores a more important change in the overall culture of the internet and how online companies view and respect users, users’ information, and content. Change does not happen in silence, but through the voices of many.
And note that any images your clients upload to Facebook are covered by these terms, so some of your photos may end up as the property of Facebook without your knowledge.
Q: I Read A Statement From Facebook That Said They Would Respect My Privacy And Content. What’s Up With That?
A: You may be referring to this: http://on.fb.me/15GmMMM
While this friendly statement may seem to break down many of the proposed changes into easy to digest language, the real nature of these changes is apparent when you start to read the documents that lay out the legal language for the actual proposed updates.
No one likes reading Terms of Service and agreements, but it is more important than ever to understand what you are agreeing to when you use these services. These Terms of Service are open-ended, vague, and far reaching. Please take the time to read them, or contact us with questions firstname.lastname@example.org.
Please read the full document here: http://bit.ly/151NjbK.
Or a more in depth analysis by Peter Krogh here: http://bit.ly/17BElCm.
Q: What Can I Do?
A: There are a few things you can do about this and prevent it from becoming the norm for online services.
Become informed — Read and analyze these proposed changes and how they effect you. Ask questions.
Spread the word — Talk to your friends, students, family, and colleagues about these changes and how may affect you personally and professionally.
Call for action — Help others to become informed. Urge other professional organizations and entities you are a member of or work with to partner with organizations like ASMP and others as they work to ensure fair and respectful treatment of users by online services like Facebook and Instagram.