Why I Removed Photos of Value From Facebook

As an emerging photographer, I thought posting many of my better images on Facebook would be a great way to market my skills and improve SEO.  While that may be true, there is a dirty little ‘secret’ hidden in Facebook’s Terms of Service (ToS) that can exploit not only professionals, but anyone uploading intellectual property content to Mr. Zuckerberg’s juggernaut.

Facebook, the  social media portal originally built for letting college students connect with other, is quickly becoming a ubiquitous part of our culture in the United States, and around the world.  These days, you can’t get through an hour of television viewing or web browsing without being direct to follow or ‘friend’ a company or organization on Facebook.  While there are a great many benefits to the social media giant, privacy is not exactly one of those benefits.  Blogs and news outlets have been full of stories about Facebook’s mysterious and changing privacy policies in recent months.

So, why did I remove all photos from Facebook, except for a couple snapshots?
Well, it seems Facebook has royalty-free worldwide license to use any Intellectual Property (IP) content you upload to Facebook, according to the terms you agreed to (but probably never read) when you signed up:

“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.”

(see the entire Terms of Service page. )

So basically, they can grab your photos, videos, stories, etc., and sell them, use them in advertising, or pretty much do whatever they want to, without any permission from you.  If this is something you want to prevent, I suggest scrutinizing your Facebook uploads, and weeding out those IP elements that you value.  Otherwise, you could end up seeing your family photo on a bus ad for domestic abuse in Germany.

What’s your opinion?  Leave me a comment.

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