Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Facebook Reverts to Previous Terms of Service

Mark ZuckerbergImage by jdlasica via Flickr

Earlier this week I wrote about a post on the consumerist about a recent update to Facebook's terms of service (TOS). It's been an eventful week for Facebook and CEO Mark Zuckerberg has again posted an update to the Facebook blog stating that they have revised the terms of service to what they were previously. He also goes on to note that If you'd like to get involved in crafting the new terms, you can start posting your questions, comments and requests in the group they've created — Facebook Bill of Rights and Responsibilities. Here are the details from the blog -
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.

Many of us at Facebook spent most of today discussing how best to move forward. One approach would have been to quickly amend the new terms with new language to clarify our positions further. Another approach was simply to revert to our old terms while we begin working on our next version. As we thought through this, we reached out to respected organizations to get their input.

Going forward, we've decided to take a new approach towards developing our terms. We concluded that returning to our previous terms was the right thing for now. As I said yesterday, we think that a lot of the language in our terms is overly formal and protective so we don't plan to leave it there for long.

More than 175 million people use Facebook. If it were a country, it would be the sixth most populated country in the world. Our terms aren't just a document that protect our rights; it's the governing document for how the service is used by everyone across the world. Given its importance, we need to make sure the terms reflect the principles and values of the people using the service.

Our next version will be a substantial revision from where we are now. 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. Since this will be the governing document that we'll all live by, Facebook users will have a lot of input in crafting these terms.
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