My beef with FaceBook and W & P Q #8

I can guarantee that you’re not reading this on FaceBook. Why? I’ve stopped blogging there.

I love FaceBook. It has a great design and tools that make it much easier to use than MySpace. I’ve connected with hundreds of old friends and new readers there. One of the features I loved about it was the ability to directly stream this blog into my FB account.

No more.

I turned that blogging feature off yesterday, thanks to a note on Stacy Whitman’s blog that led me to this Consumerist article examining the very quiet change Facebook recently made to their Terms of Service (TOS).

I feel like FB is trying to have it both ways; writing the legal TOS language to give them blanket access to content, should they one day want to produce, oh say, a book of Best Blogs of 2009. Or a CD with Cutest Baby Photos Ever. Or Frat Guys Gone Wild and Photographed While Unconscious. At same time, they get to act all surprised and offended, “What! We weren’t gonna do that. No way!” and refuse to change the legal language that would make the issue go away.

The New York Times today quotes writer Sasha Frere-Jones as saying that FaceBook CEO Mark Zuckerman’s response to the protest “is just the modern version of ‘Ignore the fine print, ma’am, just sign here,’”

If Zuckerman truly believes what he said in the Times article, that “the philosophy “that people own their information and control who they share it with has remained constant,” then he can very easily tell the company’s lawyers to tweak the TOS language to reflect that.

Come on, Mark. You know it’s the right thing to do. I don’t have anything against good business models that turn a profit for entrepreneurs. I adore capitalism. But when you start putting your sticky fingers on other people’s intellectual property, then you’re turning into a Robber Baron. You’re better than that. Fix the TOS.

Until that happens, you can find this blog on LiveJournal and MySpace.

And now, back to writing questions.

You wrote: What do you read, outside of researching and work?

I’m reading and reading an incredible book of poetry that I recommend to everyone: Blood Dazzler by Patricia Smith I was lucky enough to hear her speak at NCTE in San Antonio (our paths crossed at the National Book Awards, too, but we didn’t get a chance to talk). I think she’s one of the most talented poets writing today.

In fiction, I’m about to start Soul Enchilada, by David Maciness Gill. I read more non-fiction than fiction (I don’t want too many other fictional voices in my head when I’m writing, that’s why.) I just finished Eden’s Outcasts:: The Story of Louisa May Alcott and Her Father and now I’m reading
Edith Wharton, which is, yes, a wonderful biography of Edith Wharton.

Before I get to work, a couple of people inquired about Number One Son based on yesterday’s photo. He is almost 17, but don’t get your hopes up. He has a wonderful girlfriend and is not looking elsewhere.