If you’ve visited Facebook in the last day or so you may see a notification from the platform alerting you to this change:

“Update to our terms. Effective October 1, 2020, section 3.2 of our Terms of Service will be updated to include: “We also can remove or restrict access to your content, services or information if we determine that doing so is reasonably necessary to avoid or mitigate adverse legal or regulatory impacts to Facebook.”

This notification comes with a “remind me later” button as well as a link to read the full terms, which are available here. A preview of the updated terms are also available here.

Section three of the terms of service is entitled “Your commitments to Facebook and our community”, with the subsection two called “What you can share and do on Facebook”.

In section 3.2 the following items are specifically highlighted as not allowed on the platform and subject to being removed or restricted:

  • Content that breaches the Community Standards
  • Content that’s explicitly against the law
  • Content that infringes the rights of others
  • Viruses and malicious code
  • Collecting data in an automated fashion without prior permission 

“If we remove content that you have shared in violation of our Community Standards, we’ll let you know and explain any options you have to request another review, unless you seriously or repeatedly violate these Terms or if doing so may expose us or others to legal liability; harm our community of users; compromise or interfere with the integrity or operation of any of our services, systems or Products; where we are restricted due to technical limitations; or where we are prohibited from doing so for legal reasons,” continues section 3.2.

We have to laugh at the part about collecting data. Remember kids it’s not okay unless you ask, and pay, the big company first.

We’ve summarised the above and implore anyone still using Facebook to give the terms of the platform a good read.

While we’re not lawyers we also want to add that the sharing of content that violates the law is a tricky subject when you consider that Facebook is an international company. How does it judge the law, as an American company, when viewing content from another country?

While not specifically stated it’s easy to understand why this change has happened. Recently Facebook was rightfully vilified for its inaction when it came to quashing the armed militia group organising on its platform that lead to fatal shootings in Kenosha, Wisconsin.

On top of this Facebook has continually failed to combat false news and purposeful misdirection in terms of politics around the world, especially in America and the recent 2016 election. With the US elections happening again later this year these kinds of changes to its operations should hopefully be able to better fight this.

Clinton has been a programmer, engineering student, project manager, asset controller and even a farrier. Now he handles the maker side of htxt.africa.