Things you might not know about Facebook

We analyse Facebook's terms and conditions and privacy policy
  • (Good Gear Guide)
  • — 13 September, 2010 15:28

Facebook has been in the media spotlight this year over privacy concerns, thanks in part cases such as the horrific murder of Sydney teenager Nona Belomesoff.

We've take a look at some of the fine print in Facebook's terms and conditions as well as its privacy policy, and rounded up some of the things you should know about the most popular social networking site in the world.

Facebook owns everything

In its terms and conditions, Facebook says that users give the company the right to use all "IP content" uploaded to the site, which includes photos and videos:

"For content that is covered by intellectual property rights, like photos and videos ("IP content"), you specifically give us the following permission, subject to your privacy and application settings: you grant us a non-exclusive, transferable, sub-licensable, royalty-free, worldwide license to use any IP content that you post on or in connection with Facebook ("IP License"). This IP License ends when you delete your IP content or your account unless your content has been shared with others, and they have not deleted it."

No fake names or information

How many people do you know that have a name on Facebook that isn't their own? You might not have known that this is generally frowned upon by Facebook. Its terms and conditions state:

"You will not provide any false personal information on Facebook, or create an account for anyone other than yourself without permission."

Facebook age limit

Sorry kids, Facebook is for people older than 13 years of age. However this doesn't stop children from lying about their age and creating an account, potentially leaving them vulnerable to online predators:

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

Sex offenders banned

Technically speaking, convicted sex offenders are not allowed to set up a Facebook account. Although thousands of profiles have previously been removed, it is unclear just how effective Facebook's policing of this policy is.

"You will not use Facebook if you are a convicted sex offender."

Accurate information

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

Multiple accounts disallowed

Ever thought about separating your work from your personal life by creating two different accounts? Unfortunately, this is against Facebook's terms and conditions:

"You will not create more than one personal profile."

Facebook tracks your movements

Facebook "may institute programs with advertising partners and other Web sites in which they share information":

"We may ask advertisers to tell us how our users responded to the ads we showed them (and for comparison purposes, how other users who didn't see the ads acted on their site). This data sharing, commonly known as 'conversion tracking,' helps us measure our advertising effectiveness and improve the quality of the advertisements you see."

Third party plug-ins

More than 100,000 Web sites use Facebook's "social plug-ins". These ensure you are automatically logged in to the site if you are still signed in to Facebook, regardless if you have left the page.

Your Facebook page could be indexed by search engines

If you don't want your information on Google, ensure you set your profile to 'Private'.

"We generally limit search engines' access to our site. We may allow them to access information set to the 'everyone' setting (along with your name and profile picture) and your profile information that is visible to everyone."

Facebook tracks device information

Whether it's to get around your pesky Net restrictions at work, or just to keep in touch while you're out and about, accessing Facebook on your mobile phone is convenient. But did you know what kind of information Facebook monitors?

"When you access Facebook from a computer, mobile phone, or other device, we may collect information from that device about your browser type, location, and IP address, as well as the pages you visit."

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Kevin Cheng

Good Gear Guide
Topics: internet privacy, social networking, privacy, Facebook, broadband
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