Facebook returns to previous service terms

18th February 2009, Comments 0 comments

The social-networking website is returning to its previous service terms of use following massive complaints over usage of personal data.

SAN FRANCISCO – Facebook on Wednesday announced it is returning to its previous service terms after numerous users raised concerns that its new terms of service seemed to suggest Facebook would retain personal data even if someone deleted their account.

In a blog post, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg said the arrangement was temporary until “we resolve the issues that people have raised”.

The move was based on “what most people asked us for and was the recommendation of the outside expert”, said Zuckerberg.

Facebook users complained the change in terms of services on 4 February allows the social-networking website to freely use their data and messages even after their accounts have been deleted.

Facebook defends its position
On Monday, Facebook said it is not seizing users' content despite changing service terms to claim "perpetual worldwide license" to anything posted at the social-networking website.

Changes to terms of service were necessary to keep in step with how people share pictures, comments and other information in the popular online community, according to Zuckerberg.

"We wouldn't share your information in a way you wouldn't want," Zuckerberg said in an online posting addressing concerns.

"The trust you place in us as a safe place to share information is the most important part of what makes Facebook work."

Terms of service acknowledge that once pictures or messages are sent to friends at Facebook, senders surrender control of the data.

Internet users want full ownership and control of their online information while simultaneously being able to collect email addresses, phone numbers, pictures and other data from others, Zuckerberg notes.

"These two positions are at odds with each other," Zuckerberg wrote.

"There is no system today that enables me to share my email address with you and then simultaneously lets me control who you share it with and also lets you control what services you share it with."

Facebook said modifications made to its terms of service let the website work with the realities of sharing information online and don't permit it to commandeer content from members.

"We are not claiming and have never claimed ownership of material that users upload," Facebook said in an email response to an AFP inquiry.

"Any limitations that a user puts on display of the relevant content are respected by Facebook."

Current changes
Facebook users logging in to the site on Wednesday will see a notice on updated terms of use: “Over the past few days, we have received a lot of feedback about the new terms we posted two weeks ago. Because of this response, we have decided to return to our previous Terms of Use while we resolve the issues that people have raised.”

The new version of terms of use will be a “substantial revision", wrote Zuckerberg in his blog.

"It will reflect the principles I described yesterday around how people share and control their information, and it will be written clearly in language everyone can understand.”

[AFP / Expatica]

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