Facebook rethinking its terms-of-use change

[19 February 2009]

By Wailin Wong

Chicago Tribune (MCT)

A Facebook of the people, by the people and for the people. And probably heavily reviewed by corporate attorneys.

The social networking site backtracked on a change in its user policy and invited its members Wednesday to send in suggestions for a Facebook “Bill of Rights and Responsibilities.”

The document would replace Facebook’s terms of use, the agreement for which the site had come under fire this week from privacy advocates and tens of thousands of its members.

Facebook had quietly revised its terms of use in early February, deleting language that ensured its license to use member content automatically would expire if a person quit the site. The change largely went unnoticed until the consumer rights advocacy blog Consumerist warned that Facebook now could do whatever it wanted with user content forever.

Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook’s chief executive, said the site has reverted to its old terms of use while it undertakes a “substantial revision” of the agreement. The resulting document, which will take at least several weeks to complete, will be written in clearer language and incorporate member input.

“We apologize for the confusion around these issues,” Facebook told its members on the site. “We never intended to claim ownership over people’s content even though that’s what it seems like to many people. This was a mistake and we apologize for the confusion.”

Published at: http://www.popmatters.com/pm/article/70730-facebook-rethinking-its-terms-of-use-change/