Recently Microsoft attempted to answer the age-old question, ‘how old do I look?’ with their fun, new website how-old.net. The site allowed users to upload photos of themselves, and the ‘HowOldRobot’ would guess their age with (apparently) hilarious results. A link was provided to encourage users to share this with their friends on social media with an accompanying hashtag (#HowOld), and it was, without a doubt, a successful viral campaign for Microsoft.
While photos were being uploaded left, right and centre, one user pointed out the fine print on the website allowed Microsoft to use photos uploaded to the site in future advertisements and gave suppliers the same rights too.
However, by posting, uploading, inputting, providing, or submitting your Submission, you are granting Microsoft, its affiliated companies, and necessary sublicensees permission to use your Submission in connection with the operation of their Internet businesses (including, without limitation, all Microsoft services), including, without limitation, the license rights to: copy, distribute, transmit, publicly display, publicly perform, reproduce, edit, translate, and reformat your Submission; to publish your name in connection with your Submission; and to sublicense such rights to any supplier of the Website Services.
Will Microsoft use all the photos uploaded to the site? Probably not, but it’s an important case study in how digital apps have revolutionised the user experience. We’re all guilty, i’m sure, of clicking yes to the terms and conditions without reading them, but this has potential impacts on consumer privacy.
For example, the terms and conditions on Facebook, give the site permission to sell your ‘information’ (demographic stats, things you like and what you post) to companies and brands who can use this for commercial interests. If you’re wondering just how much you are worth to sites like Facebook, a free tool has been developed to calculate the estimated value of your personal user information.
Whether or not you are concerned with the way social media sites track users to target them commercially (personally, it’s not a huge issue of mine), it is a significant example of the way the Internet has revolutionised marketing.
What is your opinion on Facebook’s data mining policies from a user perspective?