>Facebook membership is now forever, despite deleting your account

>Yes, folks. It’s true, according to a FOXNews (yeah, I know) article.

The mega social networking site made a change to its Terms of Use on Feb. 4, which declares that Facebook has the right to use anything posted to your account, even after you delete your membership and profile. Here’s the text to the article:

The Consumerist blog noticed Sunday that the social-networking giant had quietly made a change to its user Terms of Service (TOS) on Feb. 4.

Facebook now declares that it has a perpetual license to use anything you post to your own Facebook page — even if you terminate your account.

Here’s the licensing part of the legalese, which sounds bad enough:

“You hereby grant Facebook an irrevocable, perpetual, non-exclusive, transferable, fully paid, worldwide license (with the right to sublicense) to (a) use, copy, publish, stream, store, retain, publicly perform or display, transmit, scan, reformat, modify, edit, frame, translate, excerpt, adapt, create derivative works and distribute (through multiple tiers), any User Content you (i) Post on or in connection with the Facebook Service or the promotion thereof subject only to your privacy settings or (ii) enable a user to Post, including by offering a Share Link on your website and (b) to use your name, likeness and image for any purpose, including commercial or advertising, each of (a) and (b) on or in connection with the Facebook Service or the promotion thereof.”

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In other words, while it doesn’t actually own your photos, scribblings and status updates — you do — Facebook can do whatever it wants with it, whenever it wants, in order to promote itself or create or sell ads.

Theoretically, it can even “license” a picture of your kids for use in a third party’s ad campaign.

Most of that has been part of the Facebook Terms of Service for a while. After all, without user-generated content, Facebook would be nothing.

What’s been removed is this: “If you choose to remove your User Content, the license granted above will automatically expire, however (sic) you acknowledge that the Company may retain archived copies of your User Content.”

And what’s been added is this: “The following sections will survive any termination of your use of the Facebook Service” — after which follows a list of most of the sections on the Terms of Service page.

Does anyone find this disturbing? Isn’t there a law against using someone’s name or likeness without their consent for advertising purposes? At least that’s what I learned while going through college.

I’m surprised there hasn’t been more concern or outrage expressed at Facebook for its apparent lack of sympathy or concern for its members’ privacy. As a Facebook member for about four years, my views of the website have gone from benevolence to extreme caution. Every application/tool is geared toward putting one’s business out for the world to see. Every new feature is designed for one to keep tabs on his or her’s friends during their every waking moment on the site–and on the Web in general. From relationship status to web surfing habits, Facebook has become the new tool for people who thrive off gossip and keeping tabs on their friends. I won’t even get into how the website has become a potential stalker’s best friend.

As I reflect more, maybe this change in Facebook’s policies and its members’ lack of concern is a sign of changing times. Maybe it’s a generational thing. I mean, let’s face it. My generation is the only one that has no shame when we upload drunken and other embarrassing pictures of ourselves, with the intent to see which of us has the most raunchy, sexy (and I lose that term loosely–nothing sexy about looking like a hooker after a night of drinking and drug use) and over-the-top lifestyle. It’s almost like a subconscious popularity contest among Gen Y folk like myself.

My generation’s lack of concern about Facebook’s use of our images for its advertising purpose (not to mention unauthorized use, EVEN after we don’t have an account) and its complete disregard of our privacy is troubling nonetheless. However, what’s more appalling is how this social-networking site will compromise the safety and privacy of its users just to make a profit.

Thoughts?