Facebook is in the news again. No, it didn’t get hacked (again) or give away all your personal data (unfortunately, I have to say again). It simply updated its terms of service.
How is this newsworthy you may be wondering? It’s just something we click on, ignore until we scroll to the bottom, and click on a button that says you have agreed to the terms of service. To quote the great Lee Corso, not so fast my friends…
What Should You Know About the Update?
While scanning through your Facebook notifications over the last few days, you more than likely noticed an update regarding its terms of service agreement. Many of you may have ignored it, and that’s okay. There’s probably a good chance it won’t impact your Facebook livelihood one bit. However, for those running a business page, overseeing a group, or posting a lot of content that may seem controversial, the new terms of service agreement may affect you.
The change to the terms of service is as follows:
Effective October 1, 2020, section 3.2 of our Terms of Service will be updated to include: “We also can remove or restrict access to your content, services or information if we determine that doing so is reasonably necessary to avoid or mitigate adverse legal or regulatory impacts to Facebook.”
Section 3.2 of the agreement also covers who and who cannot use Facebook, along with what users can or can’t do on the platform.
The terms of service update appears to expand Facebook’s current ability to remove content if it feels the social media giant could face legal ramifications. Unfortunately, specific clarification on what type of content can be removed is not yet available.
The change to the terms of service agreement stems from an announcement made by Facebook in an attempt to block Australian users and publishers from sharing news on the platform due to landmark Australian law that would force Facebook to share ad revenue with news publishers.
The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission is putting together a bill for Parliament that would require Facebook, along with Google, to negotiate with digital media publishers and provide them with a certain amount of revenue for content that appears on the platform.
The goal of this proposed bill is to address imbalances between news organizations on the brink of collapse because traditional media continues to decline and digital organizations that thrive on ad revenue. This could make legitimate news sources harder to find, possibly limiting disinformation and fake news.
What’s The Reaction?
As with any major announcement or change regarding Facebook, people freaked out. Some active social media users believe the change stems from the political advertisements constantly overrunning the platform. Someone on Twitter recently commented on the issue, stating:
Facebook’s terms of service update translated to plain English: “We will remove content not because it is incorrect, misleading, illegal, or spreads dangerous misinformation, but because removing it might help prevent us from getting caught allowing it.”
Because the new update doesn’t offer specific details, some users are led to believe the potential removal of content may violate their freedom of speech rights.
On the other hand, some social media users believe this update may help to get rid of fake news. Only time will tell as the update goes into effect October 1.