Facebook Doesn't Own Your Photos, But Someone There Thought It Might

Josh WolfordSocial Media

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Here's an interesting story of a Facebook rep not quite understanding the company's policies (or understanding them perfectly ... muahahahaha).

After months of issues, while once again trying to get the Facebook page for her website restored, the blogger behind online photo theft-tracking site Photo Stealers received a rather interesting response from a Facebook sales rep.

"…once something is posted or uploaded onto Facebook it becomes Facebook’s property. So if the original photographer uploaded the photo first onto Facebook and then others have taken it from there and uploaded it to their pages or profiles, this is legal and within policy, there’s nothing I can do about it unfortunately even if they are taking credit for the photos," said the rep.

Of course, this was a pretty shocking thing to hear Facebook admit. Facebook's Terms of Service specifically states that "You own all of the content and information you post on Facebook, and you can control how it is shared through your privacy and application settings." Facebook has been fighting off rumors and hoaxes about this very issue for years.

So, this was pretty big news.

Except it wound up being a case of someone getting their wires crossed.

Facebook quickly responded to the Photo Stealers story, saying that the rep had it wrong.

"The information given in these emails is incorrect. Our terms are clear that you own the content you share on Facebook, including photos. When you post something, you simply grant Facebook a license to use that content consistent with our terms, including displaying it to the audience you’ve shared it with," said another Facebook spokesperson.

"In addition, we prohibit people from posting content that violates someone else’s intellectual property rights. If a rights owner believes that content on Facebook violates their rights, they may report it to us. Upon notice, we stand ready to respond including by removing the content from Facebook."

What Facebook can do it use your name, likeness, check-ins, and activity in ads. It can't take your photos and use them as they see fit. Other people sure can, and your only method of recourse is to report the photo as IP theft. Hopefully, Facebook will be able to rectify the situation. Hopefully.

Josh Wolford
Josh Wolford is a writer for WebProNews. He likes beer, Japanese food, and movies that make him feel weird afterward. Mostly beer. Follow him on Twitter: @joshgwolf Instagram: @joshgwolf Google+: Joshua Wolford StumbleUpon: joshgwolf