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Facebook Caves To User Pressure And Promises Bill Of Rights

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg heard the outcry of his users and has altered course on the controversial changes to the terms of service his company instituted, instead opting for a Facebook Bill of Rights.

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The company also said it will develop a new "Facebook Bill of Rights" that will incorporate suggestions from Facebook users.

On Feb. 4, Facebook quietly changed its terms of service. Under the license section of the terms of service (TOS), users granted Facebook "an irrevocable, perpetual, nonexclusive, transferable, worldwide license to use, copy, publish, stream, store, retain and distribute any user content you post."

Late last night, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg posted a blog acknowledging the outrage felt by many users and saying the company would revert to the TOS it used prior to Feb. 4. The return to the older TOS came after internal discussions at the company, according to the Zuckerberg blog post.

"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," wrote Zuckerberg.

Zuckerberg went on to point out that his company is in the process of crafting new terms of service, one that, according to him, will "reflect the principles I described yesterday around how people share and control their information."

Somewhat surprisingly, the new Facebook Bill of Rights will be written with the company taking suggestions from users for what should or should not be included.

"If you'd like to get involved in crafting our new terms, you can start posting your questions, comments and requests in the group we've created -- Facebook Bill of Rights and Responsibilities. I'm looking forward to reading your input," wrote Zuckerberg.

"We expect to complete this in the next few weeks. In the meantime, we've changed the terms back to what existed before the February 4th change, which was what most people asked us for and was the recommendation of the outside experts we consulted," he wrote.

The flap surrounding the change to the TOS on Feb. 4 emerged because it meant that the social network owned the rights to anything posted to the social networking site, including written notes and photos.

According to the changes made Feb. 4, the site can "use your name, likeness and image for any purpose, including commercial or advertising. Facebook will be entitled to the unrestricted use of any such submission for any purpose, commercial or otherwise, without acknowledgment or compensation to you."

Further upsetting members of the network was Facebook's callous claim that it had no need to alert users to the changes being implemented in the TOS.

The changes to Facebook's TOS were first reported by the blog Consumerist.

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