Facebook Reverts Terms of Service After Complaints

It’s been an eventful week for Facebook’s execs and legal team. Two weeks after the company released an updated Terms of Service, the company has decided to temporarily revert its Terms of Service to the previous version after complaints from some users and privacy advocates while a new document is drafted.

Writing in the Facebook blog again today, CEO Mark Zuckerberg said,

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.

Facebook has created the Facebook group Facebook Bill of Rights and Responsibilities for users to give input about the site’s terms.

Concerns about the updated terms of service have largely revolved around the “Licenses” section, which gave Facebook a broad set of rights regarding content users publish to the service – even if they delete their account.  It read:

You are solely responsible for the User Content that you Post on or through the Facebook Service. 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.

As a result of these concerns, the Electronic Privacy Information Center yesterday announced it was going to file a complaint with the FTC requesting Facebook revert its terms of service. In addition, almost 70,000 Facebook users joined a Facebook group called People Against the New Terms of Service.

For now, Facebook’s ToS is back to the version it had published before the February 4th change – “which was what most people asked us for and was the recommendation of the outside experts we consulted,” Zuckerberg says. In the meantime, Facebook will be working through the complex challenges of reflecting the “principles and values” of its 175 million global members – as well as its corporate counsel – in one document.

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Leave a Reply

24 Responses to “Facebook Reverts Terms of Service After Complaints”

  1. links for 2009-02-18 | Ip's. says:

    [...] Facebook Reverts Terms of Service After Complaints "It’s been an eventful week for Facebook’s execs and legal team. Two weeks after the company released an updated Terms of Service, the company has decided to temporarily revert its Terms of Service to the previous version after complaints from some users and privacy advocates while a new document is drafted." (tags: facebook tos article) [...]

  2. jomlr :: Social Media Marketing Solution - Facebook » Blog Archive » Facebook Reverts Terms of Service says:

    [...] it HERE, [...]

  3. David Salaguinto says:

    This story has everything: drama, comedy, a “to be continued” ending…

  4. Facebook’s Chief Privacy Officer: Users Own All Their Data says:

    [...] media outlets were all over Facebook’s decision to revert its Terms of Service last week: apparently, interviews given by Facebook’s Chief Privacy Officer Chris Kelly were syndicated [...]

  5. Facebook (Connect) In A Marketing Context says:

    [...] a hassle about Facebook owning your data, Facebook’s reaction saying this isn’t so, the turn back to the old TOS and this morning I noticed that Facebook is actually involving people in the creation of their new [...]

  6. jason butler says:

    Someone has signed me up in the Des Moines, Iowa network area. I am not interested in having a facebook, but someone thought otherwise. Im asking you to cancel this page. They have said many thing about me and Im very unhappy about this. Its under my name “Jason Butler”. Please cancel this asap.
    Contact me thru my e-mail that I have left you.
    Thank you.
    Jason

  7. mark granfar says:

    How does anyone make Facebook consider some ideas and suggestions?
    It is very easy for someone to have their account disabled for reasons they do not even know, and you have to do extensive research to figure out what you did wrong.
    Would it not be better to generate a response telling the member what they did wrong?
    Once Facebook is used extensively for networking, it becomes indispensable and thus one relies on it. To be “disabled” without a recourse is only an opportunity for other networking sites to take that market and address that concern. Who can one contact?

    Mark M Granfar

  8. Compete: Few Facebook Users Upset During Latest Terms of Service Changes says:

    [...] there was certainly a lot of media coverage around Facebook’s decision to revert its terms of service a couple of weeks ago, few Facebook users decided to leave Facebook because of [...]

  9. Sharelle Claire Burger says:

    i think its rather stupid to block me from sending messages because i was sending to many messages. what the heck is up with that? Get RID OF THAT!!!! it is stupid.

  10. Facebook Hires New Director of Public Policy from the ACLU says:

    [...] ACLU is well known for its vigorous advocacy of internet privacy issues. Recently, Facebook reverted changes to its terms of service after complaints from some user and privacy advocates, and soon thereafter instituted new governing [...]

  11. En direct : Mark Zuckerberg fait une annonce sur les conditions d’utilisation de Facebook says:

    [...] Facebook revient aux anciennes CGU après les plaintes (18 février 2009) [...]

  12. GNC-2009-02-20 #453 Recorded on Rebuilt Machine | Geek News Central says:

    [...] Launch Step into my Proton Cyclotron More Bars on your Cell Phone Comcast dazzles with more Speed Facebook does about face on TOS New Mac Mini? iPhone App Shelf Life Top 21 Twitter Clients Dawn gets a boost around Mars [...]

  13. Facebook Lobbies Washington on Privacy says:

    [...] by members of the privacy community, who have often been critical of Facebook. Most recently, Facebook experienced a backlash from users when it revised its terms of service. Many perceived the change to imply that Facebook would hold [...]

  14. Simone Younger says:

    Lets face it, If you join Facebook your on your own!
    Facebook is providing a DUDD AND DANGEROUS product, when u get it if it dont work TOO BAD!

    Facebooks CEO’s response to all this is to call
    another board meeting and juggle around some terms and conditions. (all that writing and little box we all click, but seldom read.)Good to see Facebooks concerntration is on the important issues, NOT!

    You refuse us, your customers, of ANY kind of service, help, or assistance by simply ignoring us. God knows how many of your consumers lives and reputations have and continue to be ruined or damaged by your outrageous disregard of your DEFECTIVE product!! ITS DISGUSTING!!

    One could only imagine the BILLIONS of dollars in advertising Facebook receives while you all sit back and ignore the thousands apon thousands of e-mails and forms desperatly begging for your help!!! My Facebook problem is minor compared to some of the un-ansered help requests posted in your help centre, eg. a primary school teacher who is unable to remove inappropriate, and damaging personal information posted on her page, a page that her primary school students and their parents have and can still access, Facebook wont even allow her de-activate her account.
    This poor womens reputation, her personal confidence and pride slowly gets ripped to shreads, and 5 months on she has still NOT recieved a single response from Facebook.

    Does the CEO of Facebook have a contios? How could he continue letting this happen?
    What if this Primary school teacher was your son or daughter mister CEO?

    Surley Facebook and those with the decision power have to be responsible for the damage this ignorance is causing to peoples lives.

    For goodness sake Facebook, fix ur product! Or get someone in the top job who will!!

  15. AdNerds » Facebook (Connect) In A Marketing Context says:

    [...] a hassle about Facebook owning your data, Facebook’s reaction saying this isn’t so, the turn back to the old TOS and this morning I noticed that Facebook is actually involving people in the creation of their new [...]

  16. » Facebook (Connect) In A Marketing Context says:

    [...] a hassle about Facebook owning your data, Facebook’s reaction saying this isn’t so, the turn back to the old TOS and this morning I noticed that Facebook is actually involving people in the creation of their new [...]

  17. Adam Adams says:

    Face book has a person with an account and that person is showing photos of my child.
    I have sent an email to face book but no response.
    The account holder has not been suspended or any action taken yet my sons picture is still being shared with 250 other people and the account holder has no right to do this and i do not know where to turn .
    Face book has millions of pedophiles and my sons picture may be part of there sick collection and yet they is nothing i can do ? Face book did not even bother to answer my e mails.

  18. adianezm says:

    i reported to facebook about a facebook user. he posted in his wall and profile comments that may damage my reputation.i am a family woman and my kids have facebook, they might see this post or friends of friends might inform them about this. it was 2 days ago and still posted in his wall and profile. how will i end this?

  19. shakir says:

    my acount is diabled .why. please Reopen it.thankx..

  20. ErinBryant says:

    I have been trying to log on to my face book and it only states that it has been disabled.Please reopen it thank you

  21. Chris Reilly says:

    Hi I am very un happy with facebook I didnot think I was doing anything wrong all I was trying to do was make friends I didnt realise u are not suppose to use this for dating.
    Now I am limited to friends when i try to add who i want it comes up with help centre cos of the feed back off people cos i add two many times I think it’s degusting so I want u to let me back into adding friends again. I am a very freindly guy not looking for trouble I respect there are loads of weirdos so if u let me add friends again I will be very grateful thank you

  22. sandy boring says:

    i have been trying to play frontier for the past two day. it says i am off the net, and i get this (RC) (34) everytime. i want to know were to let them know about this. got any ideal ?

  23. Vanda SDS Martins says:

    Someone has opened a facebook account under my name and I keep getting messages on my yahoo account saying that there is people commenting on my page when I haven’t opened a facebook account! I also have people that know me as well as random people approaching me and asking me about my facebook account when I have none! Someone told me that some people at work have opened a facebook account under my name for the purpose of upsetting me and going on about me under my name but I don’t want to believe that as I have no way to prove it! Can someone please procceed an investigation on that for me please as I have no money to pay for one and would like someone to close that account and maybe catch the people who have opened it. It really distresses me as I have random people calling me whore as well as going on about my private life when I am none of that and have done nothing wrong. Someone seems to want to get my name dirty but I live a respectful and simple life which I don’t want to get ruined over something I didn’t do. I have been worrying about this for months now and no one has helped me regarding this.

    I also ready the following story of one of the commenters>>> jason butler Says:
    March 2nd, 2009 at 8:31 am
    Someone has signed me up in the Des Moines, Iowa network area. I am not interested in having a facebook, but someone thought otherwise. Im asking you to cancel this page. They have said many thing about me and Im very unhappy about this. Its under my name “Jason Butler”. Please cancel this asap.

    >>and is shocking that people are able to do this to others. Please also reply soon onto my email address which I left and I have hope that this will get sorted soon.

    Do close any account on Facebook under my name and do something about who has opened it, people that do this sort of things actually ruin lives and puts innocent people under stress!

    Many thanks,
    Vanda.

  24. Josh Constine says:

    @Vanda: Find the fake account on Facebook and use the “Report/Block this Person” link at the bottom left of the profile. If you do not have Facebook, find some friends who do and tell them to report the person.

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