Terms and Conditions: Facebook Owns Everything You Post

After watching the documentary Terms and Conditions May Apply, I’ve decided to post occasional articles about the terms and conditions that we all agree to when using internet services. This is the first of a series.

Let’s start with Facebook. Their Statement of Rights and Responsibilities is a simple overview of their many terms and conditions; there are links at the bottom of the page to their Data Use Policy, Advertising Guidelines, etc.

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One thing that jumps out is the fact that Facebook owns everything you post, and they can do anything they want with it, at least until you delete the content or your account:

“For content that is covered by intellectual property rights, like photos and videos (IP content), you specifically give us the following permission, subject to 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). This IP License ends when you delete your IP content or your account unless your content has been shared with others, and they have not deleted it.”

So, technically, Facebook can take photos you’ve posted and sell them to others; they can take your videos and do whatever they want with them. Or if you’ve posted, say, a poem or short story, they can sell that too.

They also point out that deleting content may not actually delete it:

“When you delete IP content, it is deleted in a manner similar to emptying the recycle bin on a computer. However, you understand that removed content may persist in backup copies for a reasonable period of time (but will not be available to others).”

If you delete your account, it won’t be fully deleted for 90 days:

“When you delete your account, it is permanently deleted from Facebook. It typically takes about one month to delete an account, but some information may remain in backup copies and logs for up to 90 days.”