For our weekly blog assignment I chose to de-ravel and de-construct the page that is YouTube’s Terms of Service (ToS). However, for the ease of the group assignment (where multiple students analysed Facebook’s ToS) I have also chosen to de-ravel and de-construct the nightmare of all nightmares – Facebook’s ToS.
One of their better features is the ability to control the privacy settings on each individual post so that only select individuals can view private content. However although content can be set as private, users should be careful of the licenses they grant applications. By agreeing to use certain applications users are handing over licenses to access their private details and any content other Facebook user’s may have shared with the application user. Of course the companies that provide the applications for users to use are bound within regulations as to what they can and cannot do with the data they receive from their users. And can – due to the contracts signed with Facebook, be banned from the social networking site for misuse of such data.
Which brings us to the next point – security, user safety and the protection of user rights. In terms of safety, Facebook relies on its users as well as its staff to keep the community safe. As part of signing up to Facebook users agree to: not bully or intimidate or harass any user or create discriminatory pages/posts among other things. These key points however are frequently breached and often make weekly night news networks where bullying and racist pages and posts lead people to doing self-harm and in serious cases suicide. In terms of this, Facebook’s commitment to remove hateful posts (and possibly ban users) seriously lacks, and in some cases shows they themselves have violated their own Terms of Service.
As for security, Facebook makes no mention as to the security of their users accounts or the measures they may take to ensure the integrity of their data. Instead they mention users should keep their information accurate and up-to-date and not create more than one personal account. Again Facebook is rather lax with these rules, with users able to operate multiple accounts at once without receiving a warning in regards to their activities.
Overall Facebook is good at its job; allowing users to interact and communicate over large geographical distances, sometimes even too good. However, with no specifications on how the wealth of information Facebook has at its disposal will be secured and shared with outside companies – users should be wary of what they share and who they communicate with when it comes to Facebook. With hundreds and thousands of fake accounts being created and used every day it’s getting harder and harder to tell who you are really talking to.