Yesterday, Twitter announced that they had changed their terms of service (TOS) to allow them to, among other things, hand over your information to advertisers and “use, copy, reproduce, process, adapt, modify, publish, transmit, display and distribute” your tweets. They stress, however, that you own your tweets even though they can do whatever they want with them.
The following excerpt, taken from the Your Rights section of the TOS, tries to expand upon the rights Twitter says you have but really focus on their rights to do whatever they want, whenever they want (highlighted parts are the scariest):
You retain your rights to any Content you submit, post or display on or through the Services. By submitting, posting or displaying Content on or through the Services, you grant us a worldwide, non-exclusive, royalty-free license (with the right to sublicense) to use, copy, reproduce, process, adapt, modify, publish, transmit, display and distribute such Content in any and all media or distribution methods (now known or later developed).
You agree that this license includes the right for Twitter to make such Content available to other companies, organizations or individuals who partner with Twitter for the syndication, broadcast, distribution or publication of such Content on other media and services, subject to our terms and conditions for such Content use.
Such additional uses by Twitter, or other companies, organizations or individuals who partner with Twitter, may be made with no compensation paid to you with respect to the Content that you submit, post, transmit or otherwise make available through the Services.
We may modify or adapt your Content in order to transmit, display or distribute it over computer networks and in various media and/or make changes to your Content as are necessary to conform and adapt that Content to any requirements or limitations of any networks, devices, services or media.
You are responsible for your use of the Services, for any Content you provide, and for any consequences thereof, including the use of your Content by other users and our third party partners. You understand that your Content may be rebroadcasted by our partners and if you do not have the right to submit Content for such use, it may subject you to liability. Twitter will not be responsible or liable for any use of your Content by Twitter in accordance with these Terms. You represent and warrant that you have all the rights, power and authority necessary to grant the rights granted herein to any Content that you submit.
The TOS also expands on how Twitter can, if they want, bring advertisers into the mix (again, scary parts highlighted):
The Services that Twitter provides are always evolving and the form and nature of the Services that Twitter provides may change from time to time without prior notice to you. In addition, Twitter may stop (permanently or temporarily) providing the Services (or any features within the Services) to you or to users generally and may not be able to provide you with prior notice. We also retain the right to create limits on use and storage at our sole discretion at any time without prior notice to you.
The Services may include advertisements, which may be targeted to the Content or information on the Services, queries made through the Services, or other information. The types and extent of advertising by Twitter on the Services are subject to change. In consideration for Twitter granting you access to and use of the Services, you agree that Twitter and its third party providers and partners may place such advertising on the Services or in connection with the display of Content or information from the Services whether submitted by you or others.
If you’ve sold your soul to Twitter, now might be the time to try and get it back before you’re inundated with advertisements tailored to your tweets. So much for privacy in social media (although I’m not sure there ever was an expectation of privacy in social media).
I, for one, am contacting the Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada to see if Jennifer Stoddart can swing her privacy bat like she did to force Facebook to change their stance.