Facebook modifies proposed changes to terms of service, provides explanations in response to user feedback

Facebook today released a new set of proposed changes to its terms of service and offered more detailed explanation of its revisions based on user feedback.

Since 2009, the social network has taken a unique approach with its “Statements of Rights and Responsibilities,” which is what it calls its terms of service. Before instituting any new policies, the company shares proposed changes with users, who then have a period of time to comment and ask questions. In some cases, Facebook even puts issues up to a vote.

Most recently, the company made edits and offered answers to questions related to a draft of a new Statement of Rights and Responsibilities it presented in March. It clarified the following points, among others.

  • Some of our users and a number of journalists mistook the proposed update to our SRR for changes to the way we collect or use data. Our Data Use Policy (which used to be called our privacy policy) governs how we collect and use data. We are not proposing any updates to that document at this time. Instead, we proposed some mostly administrative and clarifying changes (e.g., “profile” to “timeline”) to the SRR.
  • Some of you wanted us to explain further why we made a change from prohibiting “hateful” content to “hate speech” in Section 3.7. We think the term “hate speech” better captures our policy on prohibited content, which hasn’t changed. Sometimes discussions on Facebook include controversial content – even content that someone may view as “hateful.” While we allow discussion of controversial ideas, institutions, events, and practices, we do not tolerate hate speech.
  • Some users had questions about the addition in Section 5.9 of the language that says that you will not “tag users if you know they do not wish to be tagged.” To be clear, we are not changing how tagging works. This language reflects, and was meant to reinforce, our long-standing principle around tagging – you shouldn’t tag someone that you know ahead of time does not want to be tagged. In response to your comments, we have replaced the original change with new language to highlight how you can provide feedback about tagging.
  • We are not creating profiles of non-users. There are lots of instances where we would want a non-user who interacts with Facebook to be subject to our terms. For example, if a third party is on our site but is not a user, they are not permitted to scrape users’ content or information as specified in Section 3.1. Just because someone doesn’t happen to have a Facebook account doesn’t mean they should be free to do whatever they want with the service or our users, and we wanted to make that clear.
  • Section 13 is a new addition to our SRR. Many users asked us why we added it. As you know, Facebook is constantly releasing new products. We want to make sure the products you use are the most current versions. We have added this provision to notify you that we may provide upgrades and updates to your downloaded products as they become available.

Users can visit the Facebook Site Governance page to review tracked changes to the rights and responsibilities document, and provide feedback in the comments section here. The comment period will end April 27 at 5 p.m. Pacific Daylight Time.

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