Even More on Facebook’s TOS Change

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Trace and I have been involved in a couple of conversations on Twitter over the last couple of days about the Terms of Service change on Facebook. One of the things @russm mentioned is that this whole fiasco was probably the result of someone on the legal team “over-lawyering” without the approval of the guys on the business side. You know, doing what lawyers do–think of every possible bad thing that could happen and try to CYA legally. That’s what we pay them for.

That was yesterday. Since then we’ve seen defense of the change from the business guys–so that really is what they paid their legal team to do. But @lasthome brought up a very good point this morning…wouldn’t using members’ content be a suicidal business decision? I think that’s pretty valid if we are going on the assumption that Facebook will continue as a viable business indefinitely.

But that’s a pretty big assumption. I mean, Woolworth’s used to be huge too.

So let me put on my lawyer shoes for a second (off with the flip flops) and present a possible scenario…

Let’s say 5 years from now Facebook is no longer viable as a business. Maybe advertising revenues can’t support the weight of the application, or maybe some cash heavy company (Microsoft, Google) launches a competitor with more features that cleans your keyboard or reads your thoughts. Now what is Facebook to do?

One out for them may be to sell this huge database of information they now own. It contains lots of information that is extremely valuable, like matches of real names and photos to email addresses, relationships with other email addresses, names, photos, etc.  Wouldn’t this be a great option for investors looking to cash in on their investment and walk away?

And what about the entity who buys this information and the rights that go with it? Do you trust them to own “your” information the way you trust Facebook? It’s hard to say since you don’t know who that is.

Just a possibility to consider. I’m not off Facebook.  Yet.

But my FB footprint has been drastically decreased.

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One Comment

  1. Cathy said February 17, 2009 | Permalink

    I’ve removed all my pictures. I never did the memes. Facebook is for fluff. Poke. You’re it.

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