The business and culture of our digital lives,
from the L.A. Times

« Previous Post | Technology Home | Next Post »

Facebook, take note: Twitter changes terms for the better

September 11, 2009 |  7:51 pm

Twitter Inc. changed its terms of service today to clarify that advertising on your Twitter page is OK and that users, not the company, own their tweets.

For months, ad services have flourished in certain circles of the social network. Twitter's legal provisions reinforce those companies' legitimacy.

Twitter also inserted sections to the user agreement addressing standards for third-party developers and intolerance for spammers, wrote co-founder Biz Stone on the company blog.

When Twitter announced the changes earlier today, I was having lunch in Hollywood with Ben Huh, chief executive of Pet Holdings Inc., the parent company of Fail Blog and popular kitty site I Can Has Cheezburger. Quite aptly, we were eating cheeseburgers at In-N-Out.

Huh and I joked about how Facebook had gone out of its way in February to say it owned all of the content you upload to your profile -- and had to backtrack -- compared with Twitter going out of its way to assert the opposite.

For the record, Huh prefers Twitter to Facebook but acknowledges that they both have their place -- the latter being good for interactions with real-world friends. Oh, and actress Alyssa Milano agrees.

Facebook can simplify its interface and photocopy Twitter all it wants (cough, Facebook Lite). But it won't convince the world to entrust Facebook with every bit of its personal content as long as the company keeps making blunders like the terms change, followed by the joke of a democratic legal page and the infamous Beacon.

-- Mark Milian

Follow my commentary on technology and social media on Twitter @markmilian.

Original photo by ChrisL_AK via Flickr