Van Kaam advocaten


IP, media and privacy law are constantly moving. Its boundaries are challenged daily. What's allowed and what's not. Herein lies the core of our work. Work that keeps challenging and inspiring us.

filter on category:

Facebooks 'new' terms of use


Every Facebook user has received a message from Facebook that its terms of use will change on 1 January 2015. After this date. everyone who uses Facebook agrees with the changes made . The message led to a counter movement by which users posted messages on their time-line in which they indicated not to agree with the new terms and conditions. The question however is whether there is any merit in such actions. Pursuant to the terms of use Facebook claims you already agreed by using Facebook. What is the hidden agenda of Facebook? Below a brief explanation.


`new´ terms of use already in use
Facebook claims it altered its terms of use, but the actual terms and conditions were already applicable for a while. The terms of use are not new at all. Facebook has only redrafted the conditions and splitted them in different documents. Besides that Facebook is going to collect and exchange even more of our data. Below you will find some of the most important conditions:

• Facebook obtains an unlimited license in the intellectual property rights regarding the content on our Facebook accounts;
• You grant Facebook permission to exchange your content with inter alia WhatsApp and Instagram. Also data of non-Facebook users who use websites and/or apps which are linked to Facebook will be collected. Based on this information and data Facebook can create extensive profiles of their users: what do they like, their contacts, GPS-locations, what kind of devices do they use et cetera.
• You grant Facebook permission to use and share your name, profile picture, content and information (such as likes) with commercial third parties without providing any form of compensation. This will lead to the possibility of finding yourself or one of your friends in advertising on your time-line. As long as you do not grant permission to use your private data advertisers only receive anonymous data;
• Friends can provide access to your data through apps and their account. The fact you change your privacy settings does not mean your friends will do the same. Facebook can still collect data that concerns you (likes, tags, reactions) through your friends’its accounts according to their privacy settings.


What’s new?
The fact Facebook informed its users beforehand is new. Furthermore Facebook published a new document called the Privacy Basics by which it explains the collection and use of your data and how you can change your privacy settings. The question is however if people will even consider reading this document or the ‘new’ terms of use. Users are more driven by curiosity and tend to neglect their privacy considering the small group of people who terminated their Facebook-account after receiving the notification.


The conditions with regard to the use of data for advertising purposes will apply to every European Facebook user, except the ones in Germany. German users can chose the option not to agree with the use of their data by Facebook. Why are the Germans able to protect their privacy on Facebook and we don’t?


The Appeal Court of Berlin decided that the processing of (personal) data by Facebook takes place in the United States and not in Ireland (as stated by Facebook during the proceedings). Therefore it considers the European legislation not applicable and Germany is able to apply stricter privacy rules. Under German law it is permitted to process and/or use (personal)data based on the mere fact the service is being used.


On the 4th of December the Dutch Parliament published Parliamentary questions about Facebooks ‘new’ terms of use. We have to wait for the actual answers. On the other hand the Dutch Privacy Authority is already investigating the terms of use and wants Facebook to delay the introduction of their ‘simplified’ conditions. Facebook honored the request of the Dutch Privacy Authority and announced that it will introduce its 'new' conditions on 30 January 2015.


Remove or move?
If you do not agree with the aforementioned conditions, the only option to resist is to remove your Facebook account. However this is more easily said than done. After removing your account you may not log in to Facebook for another two weeks. Once you do, your account will automatically be re-activated. After you successfully managed to remove your account your data may still be available in the back-ups of Facebook according to the terms of use. It is therefore questionable if your account is really permanently deleted.


In case you want to keep using Facebook, but also want to protect your privacy as much as possible the best advice we can give you is to modify your privacy settings where possible and be more careful with the information and content you post and share online. Nothing new, right?