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Facebook responds to user terms fury

Facebook defends new content terms

Facebook new terms of service have some members fuming that the company now asserts permanent rights to anything they create or upload, even if the member removes it from the site.

A post on Consumerist Sunday called out the changes in the legalese that most users never bother to read:

"Facebook's terms of service (TOS) used to say that when you closed an account on their network, any rights they claimed to the original content you uploaded would expire. Not anymore. Now, anything you upload to Facebook can be used by Facebook in any way they deem fit, forever, no matter what you do later."

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Needless to say, Twitter is outraged.

There hasn't been a mass revolt on Facebook yet. There are a couple of sparsely attended groups and pages about the new terms of service, but I couldn't find one with more than 18 members, as of Monday.

A Facebook spokesman has emailed me a response that I'll post in its entirety:

"We are not claiming and have never claimed ownership of material that users upload. The new Terms were clarified to be more consistent with the behavior of the site. That is, if you send a message to another user (or post to their wall, etc...), that content might not be removed by Facebook if you delete your account (but can be deleted by your friend).

"Furthermore, it is important to note that this license is made subject to the user's privacy settings. So any limitations that a user puts on display of the relevant content (e.g. To specific friends) are respected by Facebook.

"Also, the license only allows us to use the info "in connection with the Facebook Service or the promotion thereof."

"Users generally expect and understand this behavior as it has been a common practice for web services since the advent of webmail. For example, if you send a message to a friend on a webmail service, that service will not delete that message from your friend's inbox if you delete your account.

"One of the most important goals of the new Terms was to be more open to users by being more clear about how their data was handled. We certainly did not - and did not intend - to create any new right or interest for Facebook in users' data by issuing the new Terms. None of the news or blog reports at the time we announced them on February 4 suggested any confusion or misunderstanding."

Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg has posted a similar message on the company's blog.

The issue is currently Twitter's top topic. Maybe Facebook should rewrite the statement into 140 characters?

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