Editor’s Notes: This is a followup article on the new changes that are pending to Facebook that affect photographers (). At Photofocus, we do not offer legal advice and suggest that you consult with professional groups like ASMP or discuss with your own lawyer.

Social media terms of service are a huge discussion for media creators. Recently, Facebook updated their terms effective January 1, 2015 which bring more transparency to how they’re collecting and using information. The newly-introduced explains:

  1. What others see about you
  2. How others interact with you
  3. What you see

The Facebook Basics website is geared more towards people who are just curious about their data and privacy, but aren’t too concerned one way or another. For those of us who care about our , Facebook also launched a new that outlines what information they collect and how they use it. On the “official terms” page, Facebook also says:

You own all of the content and information you post on Facebook, and you can control how it is shared through your and . In addition:

“For content that is covered by intellectual property rights, like photos and videos (IP content), you specifically give us the following permission, subject to your privacy and application settings: you grant us a non-exclusive, transferable, sub-licensable, royalty-free, worldwide license to use any IP content that you post on or in connection with Facebook (IP License). This IP License ends when you delete your IP content or your account unless your content has been shared with others, and they have not deleted it.”

Editor’s note: Be sure to see our on this issues.

  • Transferable means they can assign you rights to someone else.
  • Royalty-free means with no payment to you
  • Worldwide means they can do this everywhere on the planet

Facebook has to walk a fine line with rights to our content. They collect massive amounts of data every day and are still figuring out ways to use it to make their service better. It’s understandable that Facebook lawyers want to create the most flexibility and protection for Facebook. They feel they need to have rights to share our data, which is the only way third-party companies can implement a Facebook login to their website, access our pictures, and general data in our About section, which we’re providing them. This is part of the way that many people want to use Facebook.

Right now, we don’t know Facebook’s intent on selling or licensing our images, but things can change. In the terms above, you grant Facebook a non-exclusive license, meaning you can still market and sell your images to other buyers. We’ve seen images from Twitter and YouTube get licensed.

What’s the moral? Facebook really is great for communicating and marketing your business and ASMP recommends to share smart:

“We recognize the value that Facebook has as a tool for many photographers in marketing themselves. We suggest that if you are going to share, don’t post your images directly on Facebook; instead post a link from a publication platform that you control, such as your own website.” – ASMP