No, you can’t unilaterally opt out of Facebook’s terms and keep using it

Facebook has updated its terms of service and data use policy recently and the changes have upset many people. I’ve started seeing more declarations of users’ intention to opt-out of provisions of Facebook’s terms and conditions. These sorts of declarations seem to be legally binding with their fairly legalistic language but they don’t work exceptContinue reading “No, you can’t unilaterally opt out of Facebook’s terms and keep using it”

Facebook defamation is not necessarily illegal

That the respondent in the latest High Court Facebook defamation case, M v B, was ordered to remove defamatory posts on Facebook isn’t remarkable. What is more interesting about that case is that it reiterates a principle that a court will not step in and proactively block future defamatory posts. The applicant in this case,Continue reading “Facebook defamation is not necessarily illegal”

Sharing more with Facebook to improve its value

This point in Kevin O’Keefe’s article titled “Facebook eliminating the junk in your News Feed” on Facebook “click bait” made an interesting point about using Facebook more to improve its value to you as a user: All too lawyers and other professionals I speak with complain about all the junk they see on Facebook. PartContinue reading “Sharing more with Facebook to improve its value”

Shifting Facebook privacy challenges

When you think about causes for concern when it comes to privacy online, Facebook frequently comes to mind. The world’s largest online social network has roughly 1.32 billion monthly active users with an average of 829 million active daily users in June 2014. It’s no wonder that privacy regulators are watching Facebook and other largeContinue reading “Shifting Facebook privacy challenges”

Facebook.com email shuts down with a surprise

Facebook has decided to shut down its Facebook.com email service where you could receive emails into your Facebook inbox. Apparently not many users were actually using it. You have the option of disabling the service in the meantime and, if you don’t, emails sent to your Facebook.com email address will be forwarded to your primaryContinue reading “Facebook.com email shuts down with a surprise”

Facebook still uses you to sell ads, even without sponsored stories

Facebook recently announced that it has stopped allowing users and brands to create new sponsored stories. Instead, it requires brands and users to purchase ads to promote themselves. [M]arketers will no longer be able to purchase sponsored stories separately; instead, social context — stories about social actions your friends have taken, such as liking aContinue reading “Facebook still uses you to sell ads, even without sponsored stories”

You are a soldier in Google’s Cold War with Facebook for social dominance

The underlying dynamic that likely drives Facebook’s and Google’s amendments to their policy and terms frameworks is that we users tend to place more value on recommendations from our friends and family. Facebook and Google’s advertising and promotional models (as well as a number of other services that personalise ads) are increasingly designed to manufacture these recommendations using our activities on the various services without the need for us to actively apply our minds to what we are recommending and what we choose not to. At the moment, the dominant model is one in which we choose to signify our approval of a brand, product or service by Liking or +1’ing it. These changes start to make those actions less important as a recommendation signal and are made possible through contractual models which include privacy policy frameworks and terms and conditions.

Yes, you can be sued for sharing a defamatory Facebook post or tweet

A common and persistent misconception about social media is that the ordinary legal rules don’t apply. I still remember the incredulous tweets around the time of the Oscar Pistorius bail application from people who were astonished that a tweet can be defamatory. How often have you retweeted something amusing or even outrageous without a second thought about the possibility that you could be sued for that simple action? As the law stands, both in South Africa and elsewhere, this is a very real risk so the next time you see something scandalous and are about to reshare it, think again.