Import RSS feeds into Facebook without relinquishing content control

Facebook has added a feature to import blog posts as Facebook notes. On the face of it, this is a great thing: it provides visibility to people who are unlikely to subscribe to your blog in a newsreader.

It’s Facebook’s Terms of Use that concern me. Although you theoretically retain copyright of your content in some vague perfunctory sense, Facebook can and will use your content (photographs, notes, wall posts, etc — even your privacy-restricted content) for anything they please, thankyouverymuch.

Don’t believe me? Read the official terms page:

By posting User Content to any part of the Site, you automatically grant… to the Company an irrevocable, perpetual, non-exclusive, transferable, fully paid, worldwide license (with the right to sublicense) to use, copy, publicly perform, publicly display, reformat, translate, excerpt (in whole or in part) and distribute such User Content for any purpose, commercial, advertising, or otherwise, on or in connection with the Site or the promotion thereof, to prepare derivative works of, or incorporate into other works, such User Content, and to grant and authorize sublicenses of the foregoing.

If this makes you uncomfortable, the solution is simple: create your content elsewhere. (Posterous and Tumblr are great places to start.)

To get your content back into Facebook, simply create a custom, truncated newsfeed in Feedburner and add it to your Facebook notes.

Procedure using Feedburner:

1) In Feedburner, create a new feed to your site. (Add a descriptive name – e.g., “yoursite – facebook” – to differentiate from your main feed, if applicable.)

2) Under the Optimize tab, go to Summary Burner

3) Add a descriptive footer and choose Save. Mine says:

[Truncated due to Facebook’s acquisitive Terms of Use. Please click “View original post” below for the rest.]

4) Now, import the feed into Facebook here

That’s it. Your posts will now be imported to your Facebook mini-feed, but Facebook doesn’t get its hands on your content.

2/16/09 Update: Facebook now claims your data forever.

For those with something to say:


  1. Nice idea. Do you go around reading terms of use agreements for fun?

    PS any comment you post on my website is similarly under my control and I will use it for advertising. muahah!

  2. Thanks, Ben… :)

    No, I don’t spend my free time reading user agreements, but Facebook has gotten a lot of bad press due to, among other things, this policy. I’m happy to keep using their service, but I’m under no illusions that content I put on Facebook will remain in my control.

  3. Great post!

    I agree that the terms of use are excessive. I’m working on a social networking site that ensures fair use and rivacy for its members.

    Thanks for highlighting this issue.

  4. I too have issues with their TOS, and they do provide the following clause:

    ‘If you choose to remove your User Content, the license granted above will automatically expire…’

    But I doubt there is one big ‘Remove all my content’ button (not that I’ve looked).

    I actually found your site looking for confirmation that the RSS import on Facebook actually works, mine hasn’t been.

    Thanks for the tip! Aaron

  5. I like your wording: [Truncated due to Facebook’s acquisitive Terms of Use. Please click “View original post” below for the rest.] Am considering to put it into my NOTES import from FeedBurner.

  6. good (older) artcile; has anything changed meanwhile;

    Is it also possible to get control over WHERE this feed is placed on facebook, i.e. I would like to control access to the mini-feed and not have it distributed all over facebook’s pages, e.g. only to the Notes page and only for the people I want to share it with ?

  7. @jo I’m not aware of any such feature but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist. Good luck!