Sunday, March 27, 2011

Facebook Terms Most Users May Be Violating Right Now

"I accept and read the terms and conditions on this site."

People say that this is one of the greatest lies ever existing on the tech world. When you sign up for an account online, or install a program on your computer, you are always asked if you have read and accepted the terms before you proceed to the next step of the registration process. We, who are always in a hurry or are too busy to read all of the statements included on the terms, skipped that part and agree to whatever is written there just to finish the process.

On the other hand, almost all of the users online have a Facebook account. A large number of users logged in everyday and check their notifications almost every hour. But, do you know the DOs and DON'Ts implemented by Facebook? Have you read the Facebook terms?

Let's begin with the Registration and Account Security section...

"You will not create more than one profile."

We know that it's hard to divide yourself to your personal life and to your career. I believe that sometimes, it's hard to post a status about your dog because your boss might see it and tells you that you are spending your time with your dog instead of your current project. Or, you just feel bad and tired of your work and you want to say it to the world, but you fear your co-workers may tell your boss.

The tendency of most people, they'll create a separate account. Some even do create multiple accounts for their gaming purposes, because most Facebook games require the assistance of your friends on some missions per se.

But Facebook won't allow you to do that. It's against the terms.

Solution: Use the combination of Friends Lists and Hide From option. Add all your co-workers in a list and everytime you post some not-so-serious status, hide it from that list where you included everyone on your work.

"You will keep your contact information accurate and up-to-date."

Yes, it's an obligation you are required to oblige. You should update your profile if you changed your number or residence. But it's your decision which contact information would you include in your profile. The bottomline is: don't put wrong information on your contact details.

"You will not transfer your account (including any page or application you administer) to anyone without first getting our written permission."

What is this? If for example, you want to transfer a page to a new admin, you need to ask for their written permission. You just don't transfer it. But the question is: Can Facebook detect those who didn't ask for their permission? Users may think that it's a hassle to contact them regarding a small stuff like that especially if you have to wait for their response, which may take some time.

"You will not use Facebook if you are under 13."

Many people seems to ignore this one. According to DailyTelegraph, Facebook removes 20,000 accounts operated by kids everyday. Parents, aware of the terms or not, still let their children create their Facebook. They mostly reason that their children are just there for the games, but you'll never know the disadvantages of it unless you experience one.

First, children, most of the time, don't really think deeply about what they're going to say. (Yes, some children are smart.) But most of them doesn't really care if what they say is appropriate to post on Facebook.

I even see some posts from some kids that I believe they would regret having said when they grow old. If you love your children, you may want to save them from the shame they might suffer when they grow up. Well, some even already have suffered the consequences. I remembered I once read a post on Geekosystem about students who posted something bad about their teacher on Facebook and were suspended.

There are also lots of stories of kids who had accessed their parent's credit card and spent an enormous amount on their farms on Farmville. Who's fault is this? The developers and owners of the game are the ones who always get the blame for not preventing this kind of incident. But, the parents are also responsible for letting or not haven't done actions to prevent their kids to gain access on their credit cards.

Second, privacy and security is the most important part not just for kids, but also for everyone. However, children are more prone to abuse as they are more fragile and less knowledged about these things. According to one of Facebook's Privacy Policies, kids aged 13 who use Facebook are to be guided by the parents and to be given permission before doing things on Facebook.

If you would ask me, I really don't understand why these kids should have a Facebook account in the first place. There are a lot of other options if they want to play games. But creating an account on a social site, what are they socializing for? I suggest they should just open their bags and do their homeworks and study multiplication. And no, I am not dictating what they should do with their lives but I believe this is a good suggestion. We don't want our next generation to not understand simple things you should have learned in elementary.

Let's move to the next part: Protecting Other People's Rights

I'll just highlight one part of it, which I believe most people are guilty of.

"You will not tag users or send email invitations to non-users without their consent."

I'll emphasize that part, you will not tag users without their consent.

I bet I'm not the only one of out of my Facebook friends who have set the tagged photos/videos to Only Me. Many people really don't consider other peoples' preferences on how they should be tagged.

Some people don't want to be tagged on something which doesn't show their face.
Some Most people don't prefer to be tagged on any advertisement/promotion-related photos.
Some Most (All) People don't want to be tagged on photos where they looked like they haven't slept for a week.

If it is indeed internet ethics we are dealing with here, people should atleast use their critical judging talent on this part. Imagine, if you are on that person's shoe (who you are about to tag), would you like it? If you think no, then don't do it.

However, it's better if you just ask them to tag themselves on the album of your latest outing. It would save you time for yourself, plus, it would save them from the shame they might encounter because you tagged them on embarrassing photos.

Let's jump to the Safety part...

"You will not post content that: is hateful, threatening, or pornographic; incites violence; or contains nudity or graphic or gratuitous violence."

Just recently, I snapped and lost my patience about a photo which was reposted on the news feed many times. It's a photo of a child who was a victim of a brutal experience. WAIT: Are you eating? If yes, skip to the next paragraph. Read the following text if you are not eating: It was a photo of a naked beheaded child, abdomen cut, intestines out, and the sex organ exposed. The child was a victim of a syndicate who kidnaps kids and sells their organs on the black market. Yes, it is alerting, and it is worth spreading, but to put that photo on the news feed is not a good idea. As I'm browsing the news feed I am not expected to see that photo, when I see it, boom. I've seen it. It can't be unseen. I feel pity, but I also feel a sudden disgust. I suggest you just create a Note and link to the photo with a warning that you are about to see a photo like that. Just stop posting that photo on the feed. 

"You will not offer any contest, giveaway, or sweepstakes ("promotion") on Facebook without our prior written consent."

That means if you are offering giveaways on your blog or contests, you should not post it on your Facebook page or status without their written consent. But most of us just ignore this one, it's a lot of work.

For the full list of the Facebook Terms, go to

Facebook is a registered trademark of Facebook, Inc. All rights reserved. ©

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