Facebook backtracks changes after user outcry

February 19th, 2009 - 1:23 am ICT by IANS  

FacebookNew York, Feb 18 (IANS) Popular social networking site Facebook said Wednesday it will return to its previous terms of service regarding user data after widespread opposition to its new terms under which it would have retained personal data even if someone deleted their account.
In a blog post, Mark Zuckerberg, the founder of the networking site, said the move was temporary “while we resolve the issues that people have raised”, BBC News reported.

Users had complained that the new terms of service raised questions about privacy.

Zuckerberg said: “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.”

“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,” he added.

The row on the changes by Facebook in its terms of service reflect a wider issue about user data and who owns the personal information - from comments, to photos and videos - stored on social network accounts, and what happens to these if a user decides to leave a service.

Simon Davies of Privacy International called the change “a breach of faith by Facebook”, BBC reported.

“People are entitled to be outraged. It flies in the face of the commitments that the company made to protect user privacy and to improve user controls,” he said.

US public interest group, the Electronic Privacy Information Center had warned that it would file a formal complaint with the Federal Trade Commission about the new terms of service.

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