If Facebook were a country, it would be the third largest in the world. The Internet social network celebrated the addition of its 500 millionth “friend” a few weeks ago. Clemson University professor Tharon Howard has written a book about Internet networking. Howard notes that a newly announced agreement between Facebook and Amazon is drawing a lot of attention from experts concerned over the fact that personal likes and dislikes mentioned on Facebook will be made available to Amazon. The online retail giant will use Facebook profile data to make product recommendations on Amazon’s site, for Facebook users who opt into the service.
Howard says a previous agreement that Facebook had with 44 different online retailers was shut down due to lawsuits. The service was called Beacon.
They started that in 2007 but shut it down next year. If you went to one of their websites, Facebook would know about it. Any transaction you did on their websites would be recorded on Facebook.
Howard is an expert on laws affecting intellectual property, which include ideas that can be shared on Internet networks. He says what giants like Facebook and Google are doing is forcing laws to catch up around the world.
We’re headed toward a whole new privacy law, because of the Internet. But this is not new. We’ve had this with libraries. You can’t go to library and see what books I’ve checked out. That’s illegal.
Howard says most people don’t understand that Facebook can use unpublished material posted through their site, whether it’s personal information, poetry or engineering plans.
They have a limited right of distribution. It’s the same with YouTube. If I put up a video, I’m granting them the right to redistribute that. I’m not granting copyrights, as in the same way when I publish a textbook.
To learn more about Dr. Howard’s book on establishing Internet networks, go to http://bit.ly/djvDXZ.
To celebrate it growth and show off its international reach, Facebook has also launched a new application called Facebook Stories, that lets users recount their own stories and read others’ posts.