Facebook tries again with changes to terms of use

Social networking giant Facebook has once again signalled changes to its terms of use document, just a week after user protests forced the site to abandon initial changes to the terms.


But this time Facebook appears to have learnt its lesson, and has encouraged the site’s users to vote on the language they feel is most appropriate.

Founder andchief executive Mark Zuckerberg posted on the company’s blog that the site wants to provide the Facebook community with more chances to provide their input. “Beginning today, we are giving you a greater opportunity to voice your opinion over how Facebook is governed.”

Facebook encountered backlash from thousands of users after amending its terms of use document last week. Users were particularly angry about Facebook claims that it had the right to use information from users after they had deleted an account.

“Last week, we returned to our previous terms of use as we worked on a new set of governing documents that would more clearly explain the relationship between Facebook and its users.

“Our main goal at Facebook is to help make the world more open and transparent. We believe that if we want to lead the world in this direction, then we must set an example by running our service in this way.”

The two documents released for reviews and comments are the Facebook principles, which define user rights and will provide framework for any future policy, and the statement of rights and responsibilities, which will replace the terms of use document.

The Facebook principles document states: “We are building Facebook to make the world more open and transparent, which we believe will create greater understanding and connection. Facebook promotes openness and transparency by giving individuals greater power to share and connect, and certain principles guide Facebook in pursuing these goals.”

The new statement of rights and responsibilities covers the issues of privacy, registration and account security, payments and “sharing and account information”. The new draft clarifies that when a user deletes their account, legal agreements regarding property rights are severed.

“For content that is covered by intellectual property rights (like photos and videos)… you grant us a non-exclusive, transferable, sub-licensable, royalty-free, worldwide license to use, copy, publicly perform or display, distribute, modify, translate, and create derivative works of (‘use’) any content you post on or in connection with Facebook.

“This license ends when you delete your content or your account.”

Facebook vice president of communications and public policy Elliot Schrage said yesterday that the site has learnt from its mistakes.

“Part of the big lesson here is that we really underestimated the sense of ownership Facebook users feel over the site.”

User feedback is to be compiled over the next few weeks before any changes are decided upon.


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