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Posts Tagged ‘who owns your tweets’

Socialist Media: How Much Is OUR Content Worth (And Do We Deserve A Cut)? [INFOGRAPHIC]

The specifics on who owns what in social media has always been a little blurry, even when an attempt at clarification is provided.

For example, while Twitter is adamant that “they are your tweets and they belong to you”, they also state explicitly in their terms of service that when you sign up to the network you grant Twitter a “worldwide, non-exclusive, royalty-free license” which allows them to “use, copy, reproduce, process, adapt, modify, publish, transmit, display and distribute” those tweets in any way they see fit. Moreover, you also give permission that they can make those tweets “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.”

So, yeah, technically, while those tweets might belong to you, inasmuch as you can, uh, delete them anytime you like, that’s about the extent of your ownership. Twitter can do this and pretty much everything else. And more importantly, they’re making an income off of your content, too. As are Facebook and all the other giant social portals.

So remind us again exactly what it is that we ‘own’?

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Twitter: "All Your Tweet(s) Are Belong To Us."

Twitter has announced some revisions to their terms of service (TOS). They’re largely unremarkable apart from this section about tweet ownership:

Twitter is allowed to “use, copy, reproduce, process, adapt, modify, publish, transmit, display and distribute” your tweets because that’s what we do. However, they are your tweets and they belong to you.

This is a bit of a double-edged sword. Back in June I wrote about the mystery of tweet ownership and copyright and this update to the TOS from Twitter further clouds this issue. Two concerns remain:

  1. If Twitter can do what they want with ‘our’ tweets, including reproduction for their own (financial) gain, what do we actually ‘own’?
  2. If Twitter loses our data, closes our accounts or goes out of business, do we still own those tweets? Or are they retrievable in any way?

At this stage the responsibility for backing up our data rests entirely with us – although there is no way to restore this data on to Twitter should something bad happen – but the issue of who exactly owns what remains puzzling.

Twitter: "All Your Tweet(s) Are Belong To Us."

Consider this: on Twitter, when your account is suspended, or if you decide to delete your account, all your tweets are removed, too. (For example, there is no way to read @cwalken’s tweets on If we, the users, collectively decided to delete all of our accounts together, at once, there would be no Twitter. There would be no tweets. There would be nothing. (Spambots aside.)

These are some of the reasons why I feel the issue of tweet ownership needs further investigation, and some debate. Transparency is absolutely key, and even with this revision everything still seems just a little too blurry for my liking.