What Facebook's Updated Terms Means to You

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Facebook introduced its Privacy Basics to help users set up their privacy in late 2014. They set up the Privacy Basics landing page to help you more easily determine your privacy settings across all of your devices (phones, tablets, tablets, etc.). Facebook also updated:

All of these changes took place on January 30, 2015.

Marketing and Communication professionals should also take a look at the terms for any Facebook Pages you might run. You'll need to know everything on the Promotions Guidelines, which apply if you offer contests, sweepstakes, and other types of promotions on Facebook. (This is important as Facebook will happily close down your contest / promotion if you don't adhere to their guidelines.) Take the time to read these documents, no matter how dry they may seem, so you understand what information is used and how Facebook uses it. 


Your personal information and posted content

Facebook addresses intellectual property rights. There has been a lot of concern about intellectual property rights on social networking platforms. Facebook addresses this with its new rules with its standard language.

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). 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.
— Sharing Your Content and Information, #2, TOS

Facebook shares personal user information with its advertisers. They are very clear when they say, “Our goal is to deliver advertising and other commercial or sponsored content that is valuable to our users and advertisers.” They also are clear they will use your name, profile picture, content, and information in ads. This is why when you search for particular items, Facebook immediately shows relevant posts and ads. Right now it is used as social proof, as in showing the names of your friends who LIKE a certain page, etc.

You give us permission to use your name, profile picture, content, and information in connection with commercial, sponsored, or related content (such as a brand you like) served or enhanced by us. 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.
— About Advertisements and Other Commercial Content Served or Enhanced by Facebook, #9, TOS

What you can't do on Facebook

Facebook then addresses what you CANNOT do on its site. In addition to the expected prohibitions for illegal activities, here were some of the prohibitions that I've seen some marketers violate. You should read the TOS to learn all the rules but here's a few items from the Safety section:

  • You will not post unauthorized commercial communications (such as spam) on Facebook.
  • You will not engage in unlawful multi-level marketing, such as a pyramid scheme, on Facebook.
  • You will not develop or operate a third-party application containing alcohol-related, dating or other mature content (including advertisements) without appropriate age-based restrictions. 

You cannot have multiple accounts and Facebook will make sure of it. In addition, they've updated the Registration and Account Security section. You can’t have multiple accounts (one for personal and one for business), you can’t make your personal account your business name (you'll need to get a page), and if you use a company trademark that doesn’t belong to you, Facebook reserves the right to take it away from you and give it to the trademark holder. Also, you can’t transfer your page without permission, which means that you can't technically "sell" a popular page.

You will not create more than one personal account...If we disable your account, you will not create another one without our permission...You will not use your personal timeline primarily for your own commercial gain, and will use a Facebook Page for such purposes...If you select a username or similar identifier for your account or Page, we reserve the right to remove or reclaim it if we believe it is appropriate (such as when a trademark owner complains about a username that does not closely relate to a user’s actual name)...You will not transfer your account (including any Page or application you administer) to anyone without first getting our written permission.
— Registration and Account Security, #4, TOS

What are your thoughts on this? Have you run into security issues with Facebook? Ever been shut down?