Friday, January 28, 2011

Facebook for nothin' and your 'net for free...



The tizzy some folks are getting into over finding that their "likes" on Facebook are being turned into what is, in effect, on-the-fly ad copy is amusing.

What did you think was going to pay for this futuristic new way to stay in touch with your friends and family, to keep everyone you know updated on your every meal and movie and micturition? Did you think some kind philanthropist had donated the code and the server space and the bandwidth out of the kindness of his heart?

Here's an important tip: If you want to keep something private, don't write about it on somebody else's hard drive!

How quickly it all becomes an entitlement!

21 comments:

Joseph said...

Well, where does that end? Would it be OK for a gun company to take an excerpt from your gun blog and use it as an ad? How about if a gun company used posts in their forum?

At some point, I think users should have the expectation that what they write online isn't used by someone else to make money. Now I'm sure that buried in the ULA for Facebook, it says something like "we own all your stuff" and users have zero recourse and I'm honestly OK with that.

I don't know if you've used Facebook, but it is obvious to anyone who uses it that they are pushing ads via the service. The rub here is that now they are using your words to make money without explicitly asking for permission.

That'd be like a gun manufacturer using their forums to cull quotes about their product and posting it on their webpage or print ads. Sure, they own the servers and probably have indicated as much in the ULA, but I think it crosses a line.

User should push back when they feel things cross a line, that's how this whole internet thing works now.

Tam said...

Joseph,

"Well, where does that end? Would it be OK for a gun company to take an excerpt from your gun blog and use it as an ad? How about if a gun company used posts in their forum?"

Is the gun company hosting my blog on their server, using their blog software? Did I click an agreement when I signed up allowing that sort of thing?

Don said...

Can't tell you how many times I've been threatened with legal action for commenting on one website about what was posted on another. More than ten, probably less than twenty, if we're being strict about counting only explicit threats in writing.

One guy was enraged because I commented on his stories about his kung fu teacher (who claimed to be one of Castro's bodyguards who defected to the United States and had humiliated many men with his kung fu style . . . and posted lots of pictures of himself teaching law enforcement officers to front-kick a suspect's handgun out of his hand.) I pointed out to him that he had posted them himself on the largest and most interactive information network in human history, and that he had given access to more people than he could have by printing the stories on giant signs and holding them up behind second base at Yankee Stadium during the seventh game of the World Series.

He didn't get it, and I doubt they will, either.

Anonymous said...

"How quickly it all becomes an entitlement!"

When housing, food, education, medical care, cell phone service, internet access - and freedom itself - is at no cost to end users, it seems reasonable enough that they would expect their social network to be the same.

But that's not the same as "free", is it? Somebody pays so others don't have to...which is okay if that's volunteer altruism on the part of the payer. But when one is *forced* to pay more because he can, to cover the cost of service to someone who can't (or won't)?

Well, that's called government. But Facebook is private enterprise you say? Yeah, that's what most of those other "entitlements" used to be.

AT

aczarnowski said...

I think "gun company" is an intentional thorn but OK.

Would it be OK for a gun company to take an excerpt from your gun blog and use it as an ad?

No. Copyright infringement. Gun company does not own blogspot.

How about if a gun company used posts in their forum?

Assumption is yes. They own the servers and the EULA you clicked through very likely says "we own your stuff" so you have legally transferred copy rights.

This stuff isn't that hard. Unless, of course, you're one of the billions of new worlders than can't be bothered to rub two brain cells together and think things through past "ooo shiny!"

Jake (formerly Riposte3) said...

Rule 1: If you don't read the agreement, then you have no right to complain when the other party holds you to it.

It's amazing how many people just don't get that basic fact.

"Here's an important tip: If you want to keep something private, don't write about it on somebody else's hard drive!"

It's also amazing how many people don't understand that little bit of obviousness, too. I just don't understand the people who will "check in" someplace on Facebook, telling the world where they are and what they're doing. Do they really trust all their Facebook Friends that much?

Matt said...

Honestly, I wouldn't even mind if a gun maker used positive comments I made in public (on my own blog, say) about their guns in ad copy. I won't claim they're _entitled_ to, but if I'd intended it to be private, I wouldn't have said it in public. And if it were on their own forum, or a shared forum they were partially paying for? I not only wouldn't _mind_, I wouldn't even be surprised.

Anything I put online at a service I don't own is fair game for use by those who do own it, unless we have a specific contract saying otherwise.

That being said, the one thing that's truly annoying about all of these incidents is that "free service, but with lots of strings hidden in the fine print of the EULA" seems to be the only option on offer anymore, for a wide variety of services that some of us might actually be willing to pay for ourselves, in order to eliminate that fine print.

Joel said...

Facebook - Ain't got it, don't want it, won't have it.

DirtCrashr said...

Will the coyote will gnaw-off it's foot to get out of the Facebook trap?

Justin said...

THE ZUCKERBEAST MUST BE FED!

Tam said...

Joel,

"Facebook - Ain't got it, don't want it, won't have it."

Obviously not, since you've sworn fealty to Google via Blogger. ;)

Anonymous said...

You used an intransitive verb! Anyone know the word and what it means in the post? That made me laugh,thanks! Dam near blew a mouthful of Cream Earl Gray out my nose!

CIII

Joel said...

...So?

THAT'S DIFFERENT!

Anonymous said...

I find it a bit ironic that ANYONE would have the belief that anything they ever wrote electronically couldn't be lifted and posted.

Silly users...

Gmac

Steve Skubinna said...

People pretty much shred their privacy when they sign onto any social network. Just because it doesn't occur to them at the time doesn't matter.

Ian Argent said...

Posting (anywhere) on the internets is like saying something over the crowd noise at a popular restaurant. In this case I'm paying the restaurant in publicity. And Andy Warhol hasn't given my my fifteen minutes, even. Though many others have.

Heather said...

On one hand, I know that I probably signed away all my rights at some point (even though I first signed up for facebook when only a handful of college emails were permitted!). On the other hand, while I frequently consider terminating my account, I am also quite aware that doing so would probably coup de grace my already crippled social life - since I also have the audacity to not have a cellphone, I will then lack all communication to almost all other people in my age range.

Ian Argent said...

Facebook has enabled me to get back in touch with people I would never have without it. Can I live without it? Sure. But I like being able to casually exchange tidbits and keep up with people who have moved away, without even the cost of postage; that's pretty neat.

phlegmfatale said...
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phlegmfatale said...
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phlegmfatale said...

"How about you? You still on Earth, or on the ship with me? Really doesn't make very much difference, because sooner or later, we'll all of us be on the menu...all of us."