Facebook Pulls an About-Face, Amends Terms of Use

Paul Lilly

Facebook came under fire yesterday when it notifed users of a change to the social networking site's Terms of Use (ToU). What caused the backlash was the removal of a line which read, "You may remove your User Content from the site at any time. If you choose to remove your user Content, the license granted above will automatically expire."

What Facebook essentially did was grant themselves the right to all user-uploaded content for, well, forever. It no longer mattered if you removed anything from the site, because it would remain in Facebook's archives, giving the site free reign to use the content for as long as it likes.

To justify the decision, Facebook compared the policy change to that of sending an email to a friend. Even if you delete the sent email from your sent box, a copy still remains in the recipient's inbox, so according to Facebook, it was okay for the site to keep and use your content.

As can be expected, neither the new policy nor Facebook's analogy was met with much support from end-users. Following a barrage of complaints and negative press coverage, the social networking site today rolled back its Terms of Use to the previous version, which was last updated on September 23, 2008.

Here's one for Facebook: The squeeky wheel gets the grease.

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