No One Reads That Stuff

I've seen a few posts the past month by edtech bloggers asking if people have actually read the Facebook terms of service.

The part that scares these folks is the section on "User Content Posted on the Site" which states:

"When you post User Content to the Site, you authorize and direct us to make such copies thereof as we deem necessary in order to facilitate the posting and storage of the User Content on the Site. By posting User Content to any part of the Site, you automatically grant, and you represent and warrant that you have the right to grant, to the Company an irrevocable, perpetual, non-exclusive, transferable, fully paid, worldwide license (with the right to sublicense) to use, copy, publicly perform, publicly display, reformat, translate, excerpt (in whole or in part) and distribute such User Content for any purpose on or in connection with the Site or the promotion thereof, to prepare derivative works of, or incorporate into other works, such User Content, and to grant and authorize sublicenses of the foregoing."

Does that mean you are giving away the rights to your intellectual property when you put something in Facebook?

We might not worry about that if all that's there are a few pictures and wall postings, but there has been talk out there of Facebook becoming a kind of LMS or OS. The general thought is that it (and perhaps other sites) are a kind of social learning space that already has wide acceptance with our students. So, why not use that acceptance and co-opt it for educational uses.

Teachers are using commercial blogs, social bookmarking sites, wikis, even MySpace for class projects and as course sites, though not as fully as a commercial or open source LMS.

Facebook is quite user-friendly - more so than say Blackboard - but it seems to be a completely unfair comparison. I can't imagine it becoming an accepted LMS alternative any time soon, though I can easily envision LMS products (Blackboard, Moodle etc.) ADDING social tools (some are there already) and borrowing the design features of the popular online sites.

I have some suggestions on things Facebook could do to make their service more likely to be adapted by schools - but after reading their section on "Submissions" (below), I'll keep those million dollar ideas to myself.

"You acknowledge and agree that any questions, comments, suggestions,
ideas, feedback or other information about the Site or the Service
("Submissions"), provided by you to Company are non-confidential and
shall become the sole property of Company. Company shall own exclusive
rights, including all intellectual property rights, and shall be
entitled to the unrestricted use and dissemination of these Submissions
for any purpose, commercial or otherwise, without acknowledgment or
compensation to you."


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