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Saturday, April 13, 2024

Variations on a Theme

As you all may be aware of, Facebook has been under heat from users for a recent update in its Terms of Use. Under these changes, all user-generated contentbasically anything that’s ever been posted or uploaded on Facebookcould be used, altered and even sublicensed by the site.

In other words: All your content belongs to Facebook?

Technically, yes. However, Facebook creator Mark Zuckerberg clarified yesterday in a blog post that the sitewouldn’t share your information in a way you wouldn’t want.The reasoning behind Facebook’s technical ownership of all content posted to its site was that so everything such as wall posts and messages in your inbox could be preserved, even if you erased albums or, as an even more extreme move, opted to delete your account altogether.

As with any little change to the beloved tool that is Facebook (remember back in the day when you couldn’t even post photos and the wall was an unorganized monster of a thing?), the slight modification in conditions caused quite a stir.

Such was the ruckus that as of Feb. 17, Zuckerberg announced that Facebook would be returning to its old Terms of Use until things could be worked out.

Still, the recent alteration is something to be taken with a grain of salt.

Sure, your everyday Facebooker deals with a number of risks when they log on or sign uponline stalkers, potential job recruiters, nosy relativesbut whom else could this affect? (Besides every Facebook user in the world, of course.)

Artists. Even though the most creative thing I’ve ever posted on Facebook were probably a couple of automatically artsy Polaroid snapshots and a marginally clever status update or two, a lot of people utilize their Facebook profiles as a resume of sorts. Photographers make albums that serve as public portfolios, writers post original work through notes and even the occasional musician uses Facebook to upload a crappy video of himself or herself singing to their iSight webcam.

Models and/or photogenic people. Believe it or not, some people actually have good pictures of themselves posted on Facebook. With the updated conditions, does that mean that one day that extra flattering photo of you can be used without permission for some online advertisement that you would never want to endorse, like John Mayer’s newest video album that was recorded in front of a live studio audience? Thanks, but no thanks.

Luckily, I am not at risk for such exploitationfor every good photo I have, there are probably at least 10 bad ones, probably since my friend whom we will call Shmolivia insists on asking strangers if I can have a photo taken with them. Consequently, I have almost an album’s worth of me smiling uncomfortably as I get awkward hugs from weirdos who would comply with having their photo taken by two random girls in the first place.

Last but not least, many have threatened to take down all their photo albums, and you know who would be most affected by this erasure? Those who suffer from relapses in memory.

It’s arguably one of the most important functions of Facebook. Friend requests from that one kid you met at that one party, boozy wall posts and tagged photos on Facebook all serve as documentation of all the good times you had. Plus, how else are you going to remember that drunken Friday, Saturday and possibly Sunday night last week? Yeah, you were hella wasted, dude.


RACHEL FILIPINAS is jealous that her friend Shmedgar is all over the w2m Missed Connections postings on Craigslist while she is hardly getting any e-mail lovin. She can be reached at arts@theaggie.org. 


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