We keep dancing around this issue. Facebook needs to monetize somehow, and one avenue to explore is using the media being uploaded to Facebook and pairing it with advertisers. As of September 5th, Facebook’s new ToS has added the following passage:
You give us permission to use your name, and profile picture,content, and information in connection with commercial, sponsored, or related content (such as a brand you like) served or enhanced by us,
subject to the limits you place. This means, for example, that you permit a business or other entity to pay us to display your name and/or profile picture with your content or information, without any compensation to you. If you have selected a specific audience for your content or information, we will respect your choice when we use it.
The strike-through is language being cut from the new ToS.
Which looks pretty damning. See those ads on the right hand side of the screen? See those sponsored posts? If you’ve got photos uploaded to Facebook, they can attach those pics to ads. You receive zero compensation for this ad enhancement. Regardless if Facebook actively pursues this kind of monetization or not, the fact that these ToS changes are always snuck in under our radars just makes the whole affair feel slimy and invasive.
And the bummer is FB is missing out on an opportunity to go semi-pro. If they were upfront with their users, and even offered some kind of partner or affiliate program, they’d probably have scores of people sign up. Facebook could single-handedly shut down all other stock photo and video sites on the web with the amount of photo and video traffic they receive.
Instead, now they look greedy and sneaky. A bad combo for the internet.