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Going Geek: Does Facebook Own Your Stuff Yet?

goinggeek1Remember a few weeks ago when everybody just about flipped one over Facebook changing their Terms of Service and conveniently leaving out that passage about how you own your own content? Good. Consumer advocacy blog The Consumerist originally broke the story and has been tracking it ever since. They even reminded everybody to vote in Facebook’s unprecedented user-input vote online, where Facebook put their Terms of Service up against a user-revised Terms-of-Service-like document and asked for 30% of the user base to vote. Everybody made such a big deal about it, 30% should be easy!

So, you voted… right?

Turns out, no, you didn’t. Less than a third of 1% of Facebook’s 200 million users voted on the decision (which, by the way, ended up being in favor for the user-revised content). So, what does that mean? Does the vote not count? Did Facebook set what they knew was going to be an unattainable goal just to make us think we had a say? It all remains to be seen, as the Facebook Gods have yet to make a real decision. They did have some positive things to say about the vote in general though, so who knows:

We’d hoped to have a bigger turnout for this inaugural vote, but it is important to keep in mind that this vote was a first for users just like it was a first for Facebook. We are hopeful that there will be greater participation in future votes. In the meantime, we’re going to consider lowering the 30-percent threshold that the Statement of Rights and Responsibilities establishes for a user vote to be binding.

That’s great and all… but we still don’t really know what is happening with the Terms of Service. In the meantime and in all seriousness, always remember that anything you put on Facebook could become their property and resides on their servers even after you’ve “deactivated” your account. And with the summer approaching, don’t forget those privacy settings, job-seekers!


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About the Author


Ryan is a senior Media Studies major. In addition to writing for Onward State, you can find him performing with Full Ammo Improv Troupe ( and with No Refund Theatre ( on campus.

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