A pretty blunt question! But one we all want the answer to. Let’s start with the basics. Here’s what the Facebook folks state in their Legal Terms:
“You own all of the content and information you post on Facebook, and you can control how it is shared through your privacy and application settings...
...you grant us a non-exclusive, transferable, sub-licensable, royalty-free, worldwide license to use any IP content that you post on or in connection with Facebook (IP License)”
Basically, you own your Facebook data, but they can use it for whatever they want. A bit worrying? And honestly, those terms make no sense to me. You own your data, but you don’t have full rights to it?!
To prove my point, I will talk about two other case studies that will show the questionable way Facebook handles this privacy issue.
“Europe versus Facebook”
An Austrian organization called “Europe versus Facebook” has made numerous complaints regarding Facebook’s privacy practices. One of them addressed that Facebook was unable to send you a copy of all your data hosted on their platform as Google does. After some pressure, Facebook agreed to send the data upon request within 40 days from the initial request, on a CD.
Sounds great. But (with Facebook, there’s always a “but”) when Europe versus Facebook tested this service, they were surprised to find out that important data was missing. Of course, they asked Facebook about it. And their answer was:
“Pursuant to Section 4(9) of the Acts, personal data which is impossible to furnish or which can only be furnished after disproportionate effort is exempt from the scope of a subject access request. We have not furnished personal data which cannot be extracted from our platform in the absence of is proportionate effort.
Section 4(12) of the Acts carves out an exception to subject access requests where the disclosures in response would adversely affect trade secrets or intellectual property. We have not provided any information to you which is a trade secret or intellectual property of Facebook Ireland Limited or its licensors.”
So, I raise my question again: Do you really own your data on Facebook if they don’t give you a way to save your entire database?
Deleted photos still online
According to Ars Technica, even after deleting them, your photos are kept online by Facebook. When asked, Facebook replied that the reason for this is of a technical nature and not intentional. Really? The issue was first reported back in 2009, and it has not yet been solved. 3 years to solve a technical glitch?
And there are thousands of stories like this online. Our common sense tells us always to presume innocence. To be honest, in Facebook’s case this can’t apply anymore. Not for me, anyway.
Do you feel the same? What’s your take on this?