Facebook's Zuckerberg Calms Privacy Fears Over TOS Change

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Who owns and controls your Facebook information? This has been a question many have debated over the weekend, but Facebook CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, finally gave us the answer (almost) yesterday.

There's always an uneasy balance between sharing information and retaining your privacy on Facebook, now with over 150 million users worldwide. The social network, five years old this month, updated its terms of service (those long pages of small text that too many of us almost never read) on February 4.

The changes went under the radar, only until a consumer-oriented blog attacked them: "Anything you upload to Facebook can be used by Facebook in any way they deem fit, forever, no matter what you do later. Want to close your account? Good for you, but Facebook still has the right to do whatever it wants with your old content," flamed The Consumerist in its interpretation.

However, Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook CEO, replied yesterday in a blog post: "Our philosophy is that people own their information and control whom they share it with. When a person shares information on Facebook, they first need to grant Facebook a license to use that information so that we can show it to the other people they've asked us to share it with. Without this license, we couldn't help people share that information."

But Facebook's terms of use are anything but simple. When you sign up to the social network, you "grant Facebook an irrevocable, perpetual, non-exclusive, transferable, fully paid, worldwide license (with the right to sublicense) to (a) use, copy, publish, stream, store, retain, publicly perform or display, transmit, scan, reformat, modify, edit, frame, translate, excerpt, adapt, create derivative works and distribute (through multiple tiers), [...]" (Read the full terms here)

But isn't that conflicting with what Zuckerberg just said? Yes, it is, but the CEO goes on in his blog post saying "in reality, we wouldn't share your information in a way you wouldn't want. The trust you place in us as a safe place to share information is the most important part of what makes Facebook work." And quite rightfully, Zuckerberg continues saying they "still have work to do to communicate more clearly about these issues, and our terms are one example of this," as one doesn't really know what to expect of their privacy when signing up to Facebook.

So should we blindly trust that Facebook wouldn't use our information in any other ways than we would want it to? How would you like Facebook to deal with your personal information, messages and photos you share on the social network? Please let me know in the comments.

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