(Facebook updates its terms of service more often than your local tv weatherman overhypes how much snow will fall during the latest winter storm. The Curmudgeon has obtained an advance copy of Facebook’s next update, which is scheduled to be introduced sometime this spring, and presents it here as a service to his readers.)
Facebook values your participation on our site and strives to make this a safe environment in which you, your friends, your family, and your colleagues can interact and have fun. Your enjoyment of our site is our number two objective, second only to our desire to increase revenue that will, in turn, help raise the value of our stock and make us all filthy rich.
We do at least some of the things in our power to protect the data users post on their Facebook pages. We sell your data only to the highest-quality vendors as determined by their Better Business Bureau rating. Any company that has had more than 10,000 complaints filed against it with any local Better Business Bureau organization automatically goes on a list of companies we will only do business with under special circumstances. Facebook and only Facebook will be the final arbiter of what constitutes “special circumstances,” but examples of special circumstances include businesses wholly or partially owned by Facebook; businesses wholly or partially owned by shareholders, employees, or relatives of shareholders or employees of Facebook; businesses wholly or partially owned by government officials or relatives of government officials who have regulatory responsibilities in areas of Facebook endeavor; businesses that advertise on Facebook; and if Facebook is in danger of failing to meet Wall Street analysts’ quarterly revenue and profit forecasts.
Facebook takes special pride in posting on our members’ pages content that is relevant to the individual user and to Facebook’s business objectives, with Facebook to serve as the ultimate arbiter of what users should find relevant. To enhance our ability to understand users even more than they wish to be understood, we may at times place special, non-standard cookies on our users’ computers. It is possible that these “super-cookies” may, not entirely unintentionally, detect users’ account numbers, passwords, social security numbers, and credit card numbers. Facebook will make a perfunctory effort not to share this data but cannot guarantee its success in such an undertaking.
Facebook anticipates moving into the health data business in the near future. When we do, you can rest assured that we will mostly attempt to treat your health data with the same level of security as the rest of your data. While we will try not to share your health data with insurers, which could use that data to vertically adjust the rates you pay, our ability to do so will depend largely on whether we are meeting our revenue targets for the year. If we are not, Facebook reserves the right to monetize this data.
For your own safety, Facebook will monitor your web-searching activities (Google, Bing, Yahoo, etc.) and share information about medical conditions about which you seek information with your insurers and the manufacturers of products that help address those conditions. To enhance our ability to ensure our members’ good health, we also may share your private medical data with your employer, your spouse, and your Facebook friends for their own protection.
Some things about Facebook will not change. Facebook reserves the right to continue showing you advertisements even after you delete those advertisements and indicate that you did so because you found them irrelevant or offensive. Similarly, Facebook continues to reserve the right to repeatedly show you people we believe you should “friend” even after you have ignored their photos or deleted them repeatedly over an extended period of time. If you choose to deactivate temporarily but not delete your Facebook page and choose to opt out of receiving further emails from Facebook, we will continue to remind you who’s boss by sending you an email within sixty seconds.
Facebook believes that every member who fails to complete their member profile is both disrespectful to other members and undermines Facebook’s ability to capitalize on that information as much as possible, so no matter how long you have been on Facebook and no matter how many times you delete from your screen inquiries about completing your member profile, Facebook will continue to put these questions before you every time you log onto the site. We do this because in the long run, we know Facebook is smarter than you and believes it is in your best interest for Facebook to dictate how you act, what data you provide, and how you use the Facebook site.
Users have informed Facebook that for the first time in five years they now find the site’s instructions for maintaining their privacy clear and understandable. Facebook apologizes for this unfortunate oversight and promises to publish new, more difficult-to-understand instructions in the near future so that if we fail in some way to guard our users’ privacy, we can again point to the instructions and maintain that the loss of privacy was users’ fault for failing to read and understand the privacy instructions and not the fault of Facebook.
Finally, if it subsequently becomes evident that people have generally come to understand those more complex terms of service and instructions, Facebook reserves the right to change them without notice and to try again to make it impossible for users to understand how Facebook works and how they can protect themselves from what they believe to be abuses but what Facebook views as critical revenue opportunities that take priority over member convenience, comfort, and safety.