Understanding Facebook’s Terms of Service

Facebook operates under the guidance of a set of values, goals, and rules for how the site works and how the users interact. These guidelines are important for the general well-being of its members, as well as the smooth and seamless function of the site. When you sign up for Facebook, you’re agreeing to uphold and follow their terms of service. If you’re like most people, however, you didn’t take time to read all the legalese and fine print. In a nutshell, the terms of service are broken down into several categories, such as privacy, information sharing, safety, account security, and topics along those lines.

You can read the terms yourself by scrolling to the bottom of any Facebook page and clicking the Terms link. The link always sits at the bottom of a page, along with links to Facebook’s Help page and privacy principles. When you click the Terms link, Facebook opens a page detailing a statement of rights and responsibilities.

You can certainly take time to read all the fine print, but if you just want a quick overview, here are a few details about the terms that you need to follow:

Privacy. Facebook promises to do their best to keep your information private or at least disclose to you if they share it with others. It’s up to you to control your own privacy settings, however.

Sharing Content and Information. You’re the owner of the content and information you post on Facebook; however, by posting it, you’re giving Facebook permission to use any content covered by intellectual property rights, kind of a license to use the content until you cancel your account.

Keep in mind that if you delete content or even your entire Facebook account, much of that content still resides somewhere on the servers. For this reason, do not post content that you do not want others to access or control.

Safety. Under this broad category, you cannot collect information from other users, send spam, upload viruses, solicit login information from others, bully other users, or use Facebook for illegal purposes. In other words, behave yourself.

Content. You cannot post content that is hateful or threatening to others. You cannot post pornographic material, or nudity of any kind. You’re also not allowed to post anything featuring gratuitous violence. This terms of service category is basically about using common sense and being a good citizen, conducting yourself in a way that would make your parents proud.

Account Security. You cannot supply Facebook with false or outdated information, and it’s up to you to keep your password safe and prevent unauthorized access. You cannot use Facebook if you’re under 13 years of age. You cannot use Facebook if you’re in a country that is currently under embargo. If you’re a convicted sex offender, you’re not allowed on Facebook.

So what happens if you violate the terms of service? Facebook has the right to terminate your account for any misdeeds, misconduct, illegal activities, and so forth. They can remove questionable content you post if it violates the terms of service. Basically, you’ll get in trouble if you don’t play nicely with others. Most of us learned this concept early on; however, there’s always someone out there looking for trouble. If you encounter such a person, you can report them on Facebook.

If you’re interested in reading more about Facebook’s privacy policies, such as exactly what information is collected from you and shared, click the Privacy link at the bottom of any Facebook page. You can also get to the page by clicking the Privacy Policy link found amidst the terms of service information.

Like many large-scale websites, Facebook’s terms and privacy policies change over time. You can always revisit the terms of service and principles pages to read up about the most current rules and regulations.

Source of Information : Sams Teach Yourself Facebook in 10 Minutes (2009) (ATTiCA)


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