Facebook took over the world.

I always knew it would happen.

Ok, well — truth is, I wasn’t napping, just not paying attention. The nap was today, and admittedly far longer than my usual 45 minutes. But Facebook actually took over the world on February 4th, and with such wondrous subtlety not too many people knew it had happened at the time. Put simply, they made a far-reaching change to their Terms of Service without bothering to tell anyone about it.

And no, they don’t own the world. Just all content you ever post on their site, forever, whether you remove it later or not. Now it belongs to them, and they can use it however they want with or without your permission. That photograph you were so proud of? Theirs. The images of your artwork? Theirs. The first chapter of your novel? Theirs. The posts on your blog you were feeding in through their Networked Blogs app? Theirs too. And they even have the right to sublicense.

It makes me very glad I never posted content, though they’ve been getting feed from this blog for some time, and there are some photos I would rather not have donated for –well, anything at all they’d like to do with them, I guess.

Details here and here.

It’s interesting stuff, and a slightly bewildering move on Facebook’s part, in particular because they didn’t even bother to notify their users –assuming, apparently, that nobody would notice or care. Will I see one of the photos I put in my profile in some ad one day, because FB decided to sell it? (hard to imagine anybody wanting a pic of me for an ad, but you get my point.) Will other host content sites follow suit — will WordPress one day own everything I put on this blog?

Already there’s an annoyed group of Facebook users that started this morning and is currently some 6000 people strong here. Wander around the Twitterverse and you’ll see a lot of pissed off people right now.

Fracking amazing. It’ll be interesting to see how this plays out.