After fuss, Facebook returns to old policy

February 18, 2009 9:22:49 AM PST
After days of discussion on blogs and discussion in the news, Facebook has returned to its original Terms of Use -- for now. When users logged into their accounts Wednesday, they were greeted with the following statement:

"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."

At the end of the statement is a link to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg's blog, which addresses why the company ditched the new policy.

It reads in part, "A couple of weeks ago, we revised our terms of use hoping to clarify some parts for our users. Over the past couple of days, we received a lot of questions and comments about the changes and what they mean for people and their information. Based on this feedback, we have decided to return to our previous terms of use while we resolve the issues that people have raised."

To read the entire entry, click here.

So, what does this mean? Well, Facebook does want to amend its policy, but now its looking to users for input.

The social networking site said it will return to the previous Terms of Use while it resolves the issues raised by the public.

If you would like to share your thoughts or provide suggestions, click here.

So far, more than 19,000 users have given their input.

Facebook changed its Terms of Use on Feb. 4, but the changes went virtually unnoticed until a consumer blog took issue with the new rules.

The new policy, was as follows:

"You hereby grant Facebook an irrevocable, perpetual, non-exclusive, transferable, fully paid, worldwide license (with the right to sublicense) to (a) use, copy, publish, stream, store, retain, publicly perform or display, transmit, scan, reformat, modify, edit, frame, translate, excerpt, adapt, create derivative works and distribute (through multiple tiers), any User Content you (i) Post on or in connection with the Facebook Service or the promotion thereof subject only to your privacy settings or (ii) enable a user to Post, including by offering a Share Link on your website and (b) to use your name, likeness and image for any purpose, including commercial or advertising, each of (a) and (b) on or in connection with the Facebook Service or the promotion thereof."

The policy was essentially the same as the old policy but eliminated language saying this license would "automatically expire" if content were removed from Facebook.

And that's what was most unsettling for some users. Facebook said it could use photos and other information loaded to the site long after a user closed their account.

Simply put, Facebook would always have the right to use your information, regardless if you are a Facebook account holder.

In response to the backlash, Zuckerberg, replied in a blog of his own.

"Our philosophy is that people own their information and control whom they share it with," Zuckerburg wrote. "When a person shares information on Facebook, they first need to grant Facebook a license to use that information so that we can show it to the other people they've asked us to share it with. Without this license, we couldn't help people share that information."

To read his entire blog, click here.

Zuckerberg pointed out that all users agree to Facebook's rules when they create an account. Click here to read Facebook's Terms of Use.

The site has 175 million active users and more than 850 million photos are uploaded to the site each month.


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