Facebook now enjoys more than 955 Million users, and is fast approaching the Billion mark, the highest milestone ever achieved by any social media company.I am sure most of you use Facebook for connecting with your friends and family. But tell me, how many of you, or the other 950+ Million people read the Facebook Terms of Service before joining? Have you ever stopped and thought back, ‘Maybe there’s something in those TOS I don’t like’? It’s true that many TOS are long, and excessively laden with legal jargon, which the layman can not understand. People think you need to be a lawyer to understand them. But now, there’s a service, TOD;DR, that summarizes the Facebook TOS for you so you can get a gist of what it’s all about. Here, we will explain the Facebook Terms of service in Laymen Terms. Hiring a lawyer to explain Facebook Legal rights to you would surely sound weird but what if Facebook TOS are simplified to you in layman terms without charging a penny? Services like TOSDR makes it extremely easy to simplify Terms of Service documentation for a user just like LegalZoom which is an online service that helps people to create their own legal documents.
It’s also true that Facebook doesn’t care a whit whether you agree to their TOS or not, since you can’t join without agreeing (as with any other company). But most people don’t realize the importance of these TOS. They are a binding, legal contract between you and Facebook, meaning when you’re under their roof, you’ll have to follow their rules. Facebook can take any measures against you, according to their TOS, if you don’t follow them. Such a contract can be enforced in a legal court, so be aware of what you’re getting into.
Government requests – you’ll not be informed!
When a government seeks user data from Facebook, Facebook hands it over without informing you. Hence, you can be summoned without you even knowing what it was about. This is to prevent anti-government organizations forming on Facebook. Facebook says keep it friendly, keep us out of politics!
You can’t use a fake name
Facebook says you can only use your real name, and not aliases or pseudo-names. That much is on paper, but I don’t see how it can be enforced. There are tonnes of people using fake names out there in practice.
Your content can be licenses to someone else
When you ad a content on Facebook, you give Facebook the copyrights for it, which means that Facebook is free to distribute it or sub-license it to third-parties, which is a pretty bad thing.
Unlimited Copyright license on your content
The copyrights you give Facebook by adding content has unlimited validity, and stands even when you leave the service and delete your account. It will only end when your content is deleted by everyone else.
You can provide feedback before changes
Facebook has a recent practice to solicit your feedback during the 3 or 7 days minimum preceding changes to their terms. However, the results are not binding unless 30% of the active users voted.
Transparency for law enforcement
Facebook practices no discretion when it comes to law enforcement agencies. When such an agency, such as the CIA or the FBI requests user information for possible suspects, Facebook gladly gives it up, without even your knowledge. If you have been involved in crime, cyber or otherwise, then you can be traced through Facebook, and arrested as per the law in your area. This is a good thing, and will hopefully keep criminal activity low on Facebook.
Help in securing your account
Facebook provides you all the help you need in securing your account by offering you security tips.
Hope you now know better about your contract with Facebook. If you have questions, feel free to shoot them our way! Cheers 🙂