Is Facebook Using Your Kids’ Pictures to Sell Advertising?

According to an Oakland attorney who teaches First Amendment law at Stanford University and UC Berkeley, Facebook’s terms of service appear to require users to hand over copyrights to the material they post on the Facebook site” “which would be insane”…because “there is no consideration; but still, Facebook doesn’t own you.” [Consideration is that which is given and bargained for in exchange in a contract, meaning if it is lacking, a contract may not be valid when challenged]

A case in San Francisco accuses Facebook of repurposing users’ names and photos to promote its Friend Finder service to their friends. Robyn Cohen et al. v Facebook, 10-CV-05282 , Northern District Federal Court, filed 11/22/10.  Another case in San Jose Federal Court, Plaintiffs allege Facebook put their names and photos in “Sponsored Story” alerts that promote products to their friends.  The purported class also represents children, complicating matters, as children aren’t bound by contracts under CA law in same way as adults. Angel Fraley et al. v Facebook, 11-CV-01726, Northern District Federal Court of CA filed 4/8/2011.

There are other lawsuits, and each relies on the premise that Facebook users want and expect toral control over their image online. Although motions to dismiss have been filed in most of the cases (which is typical), judges agree that the terms of service do not properly advise Facebook users of the intended uses of the content.  So if you see your picture or your grandkids’ pictures used for Facebook to gain more people, advertise, or whatever— don’t be surprised.

As far as we can tell, everything that goes on Facebook is subject to being passed out far and wide online.  It can be used for court cases, to ruin your chances for a job, to interfere with obtaining insurance, to make yourself look like a drunk, an alcoholic, a party gal, a racist, bigot, a pedophile, a criminal, you name it.  If Facebook can use your kids’ pictures, you might never even see it but maybe 5 million people in another country might?   We think Facebook is just another bad step in the direction of  awful reality TV shows, where everyone airs their personal business like no tomorrow. It’s pretty sad when one thinks about it. Facebook inventors are billionaires and have a bunch of sheeple following their giant personal information gathering site, all done VOLUNTARILY. Sad.


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