A couple of weeks ago, Facebook changed its terms of service so that users won’t be able to delete their data if they leave the site. The blogosphere immediately erupted with criticism and it prompted a blog post from Mark Zuckerberg himself on who owns the data.
Facebook had been criticized for allowing a situation where someone could take a photo of you, upload it to the site, and then neither of you would be able to stop Facebook from using it for whatever purposes they like. You essentially waive all rights to the data.
Zuckerberg’s response to concerns is basically ‘chill out – we’re not going to take the piss here’. He doesn’t apologize, or even offer to soften the language – just asks users to trust the company. But how can users trust a company slowly eroding their rights?
Sure, odds are that Facebook isn’t going to suddenly abuse millions of people’s personal info, but if that’s the case, then why not retain the original language? Facebook has a history of communicating changes badly, and this is just another in a long line of screwups that include the profile redesign and the “Beacon” fiasco.