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Facebook is now asking for user feedback on a draft version of the proposed replacement for its previously-contested terms of service. The company is also announcing a guiding set of “Principles” (also open for comment) to help users understand what the new terms are trying to accomplish.
A couple of weeks ago, some users, journalists and privacy groups became irate after Facebook implemented a revised ToS in which the company seemed to be granting itself sweeping new rights to its users’ content and other content around the web. Facebook, as one of its rivals told us recently, was more likely trying to make sure it was legally covered in providing services like Connect, which let other web sites access user data. Web sites in general tend to have pretty overbearing terms of service simply for their own protection (although those terms often don’t stand up in court).
After unsuccessfully trying to explain the changes to the public, Facebook reacted a couple of days into the controversy by switching back to its previous ToS as a short-term fix and promising to develop a new user agreement — after soliciting user feedback. So what it’s releasing today is the latest step in that process.
Facebook chief executive Mark Zuckerberg is speaking with journalists at 11am Pacific Time today. I’ll be updating this post with any new information he shares.
Update: Zuckerberg says the company will put controversial sections up for a vote; it will also have a council to provide feedback. He says the company never intended to give the impression it owned user data. All of the company’s efforts, Zuckerberg says, are an attempt to align the terms with Facebook’s mission of helping to easily share information across services. He believes this is a “pretty unprecedented” method of asking for feedback from users. The company is also taking pains to talk about the evolution of its terms as more of a “governing document” rather than a “contract.”
Here’s more from the company about some of the specific issues in the controversial revision. Note that the company is renaming the ToS “Statement of Rights and Responsibilities.”
1. “Forever won’t work: Facebook’s use of our content has to have clear limits.”
We sought to address this comment in a number of ways. First, we make it clear that users own all of their content. Second, we removed the terms “perpetual” and “irrevocable” from the license grant we receive from our users. Third, we make it clear that this license ends when you delete your content or your account. And finally, we make it clear that we can only use your content in a manner consistent with your privacy and application settings.
2. “Opt-in only: Facebook can’t just change the terms whenever they want.”
We sought to address this comment by adopting a virtual Town Hall process for providing users with notice of proposed changes and an opportunity to comment, as well as an opportunity to vote where certain thresholds are met.
3. “Write it in English: No legalese (or Latin!) please.”
We sought to address this comment by making the proposed Statement simpler and shorter, and avoiding legal terms where possible. That said, some legal concepts demand the use of very specific legal wording, so it is not possible to avoid all legal language. We look forward to your views regarding whether we accomplished our goal to make the Statement clear.
You can give Facebook feedback on the Statement in this Facebook group, and on the Principles in this group. The full version of the Principles, followed by the new Statement draft, follow below the fold.
We are building Facebook to make the world more open and transparent, which we believe will create greater understanding and connection. Facebook promotes openness and transparency by giving individuals greater power to share and connect, and certain principles guide Facebook in pursuing these goals. Achieving these principles should be constrained only by limitations of law, technology, and evolving social norms. We therefore establish these Principles as the foundation of the rights and responsibilities of those within the Facebook Service.
1. Freedom to Share and Connect
People should have the freedom to share whatever information they want, in any medium and any format, and have the right to connect online with anyone – any person, organization or service – as long as they both consent to the connection.
2. Ownership and Control of Information
People should own their information. They should have the freedom to share it with anyone they want and take it with them anywhere they want, including removing it from the Facebook Service. People should have the freedom to decide with whom they will share their information, and to set privacy controls to protect those choices. Those controls, however, are not capable of limiting how those who have received information may use it, particularly outside the Facebook Service.
3. Free Flow of Information
People should have the freedom to access all of the information made available to them by others. People should also have practical tools that make it easy, quick, and efficient to share and access this information.
4. Fundamental Equality
Every Person – whether individual, advertiser, developer, organization, or other entity – should have representation and access to distribution and information within the Facebook Service, regardless of the Person’s primary activity. There should be a single set of principles, rights, and responsibilities that should apply to all People using the Facebook Service.
5. Social Value
People should have the freedom to build trust and reputation through their identity and connections, and should not have their presence on the Facebook Service removed for reasons other than those described in Facebook’s Statement of Rights and Responsibilities.
6. Open Platforms and Standards
People should have programmatic interfaces for sharing and accessing the information available to them. The specifications for these interfaces should be published and made available and accessible to everyone.
7. Fundamental Service
People should be able to use Facebook for free to establish a presence, connect with others, and share information with them. Every Person should be able to use the Facebook Service regardless of his or her level of participation or contribution.
8. Common Welfare
The rights and responsibilities of Facebook and the People that use it should be described in a Statement of Rights and Responsibilities, which should not be inconsistent with these Principles.
9. Transparent Process
Facebook should publicly make available information about its purpose, plans, policies, and operations. Facebook should have a town hall process of notice and comment and a system of voting to encourage input and discourse on amendments to these Principles or to the Rights and Responsibilities.
10. One World
The Facebook Service should transcend geographic and national boundaries and be available to everyone in the world.
Statement of Rights and Responsibilities
This Statement of Rights and Responsibilities (“Statement”) derives from the Facebook Principles, and governs our relationship with users and others who interact with Facebook. By using or accessing Facebook, you agree to this Statement.
2. Sharing Your Content and Information
You own all of the content and information you post on Facebook, including information about you and the actions you take (“content”). In order for us to share your content and provide you with our services, you agree to the following:
2.1 You give us permission to use, store, and share content you post on Facebook or otherwise make available to us (“post”), subject to your privacy and application settings.
2.2 You may delete your content or your account at any time with the understanding that removed information may persist in backup copies for a reasonable period of time (but will not be generally available to other users), and that content shared with others may remain until they delete it.
2.3 For content that is covered by intellectual property rights (like photos and videos), you specifically give us the following permission, subject to your privacy and application settings: you grant us a non-exclusive, transferable, sub-licensable, royalty-free, worldwide license to use, copy, publicly perform or display, distribute, modify, translate, and create derivative works of (“use”) any content you post on or in connection with Facebook. This license ends when you delete your content or your account.
2.4 We always appreciate your feedback or other suggestions about Facebook, but you understand that we may use them without any obligation to compensate you for them (just as you have no obligation to offer them).
We do our best to keep Facebook safe, but we cannot guarantee it. We need your help in order to do that, which includes the following commitments:
3.1 You will not send or otherwise post unauthorized commercial communications to users (such as spam).
3.2 You will not collect users’ information, or otherwise access Facebook, using automated means (such as harvesting bots, robots, spiders, or scrapers) without our permission.
3.3 You will not upload viruses or other malicious code.
3.4 You will not solicit login information or access an account belonging to someone else.
3.5 You will not bully, intimidate, or harass any user.
3.6 You will not post content that is hateful, threatening, pornographic, or that contains nudity or graphic or gratuitous violence.
3.7 You will not promote alcohol-related or other mature content without appropriate age-based restrictions.
3.8 You will not use Facebook to do anything unlawful, misleading, malicious, or discriminatory.
3.9 You will not facilitate or encourage any violations of this Statement.
4. Registration and Account Security
Facebook users provide their real names and information, and we need your help to keep it that way. Here are some commitments you make to us relating to registering and maintaining the security of your account:
4.1 You will not provide any false personal information on Facebook, or create a profile for anyone other than yourself without permission.
4.2 You will not use Facebook if you are under 13.
4.3 You will not use Facebook if you are located in a country embargoed by the U.S., or are on the U.S. Treasury Department’s list of Specially Designated Nationals.
4.4 You will not use Facebook if you are a registered sex offender.
4.5 You will keep your contact information accurate and up-to-date.
4.6 You will not share your password, let anyone else access your account, or do anything else that might jeopardize the security of your account.
4.7 You will not transfer your account to anyone without first getting our written permission.
5. Protecting Other People’s Rights
We respect other people’s rights, and expect you to do the same.
5.1 You will not post content or take any action on Facebook that infringes someone else’s rights or otherwise violates the law.
5.2 We can remove any content you post on Facebook if we believe that it violates this Statement.
5.3 We will provide you with tools to help you protect your intellectual property rights. To learn more, visit our How to Report Claims of Intellectual Property Infringement page.
5.4 If we removed your content for infringing someone else’s copyright, and you believe we removed it by mistake, we will provide you with an opportunity to appeal.
5.5 If you repeatedly infringe other people’s intellectual property rights, we will disable your account when appropriate.
5.6 You will not use our copyrights or trademarks (including Facebook, the Facebook and F Logos, FB, Face, Poke, Wall and 32665) without our written permission.
5.8 You will not post anyone’s social security, driver’s license, credit card, debit card, or bank account numbers or other similar content on Facebook.
6.1 We currently provide our mobile services for free, but please be aware that your carrier’s normal rates and fees, such as text messaging fees, will still apply.
6.2 In the event you change or deactivate your mobile telephone number, you will promptly update your account information on Facebook to ensure that your messages are not sent to the person who acquires your old number.
If you purchase or use Facebook Credits, or make direct payments, you agree to our Payments Terms.
8. Share Links
If you want to use our Share Link button, the following additional terms apply to you:
8.1 We give you permission to use Facebook’s Share Link button so that users can post links or content from your website on Facebook.
8.2 You give us permission to use such links and content on Facebook.
8.3 You will not place a Share Link button on any page containing content that would violate this Statement if posted on Facebook.
9. Special Provisions Applicable to Developers/Operators of Applications and Websites
If you are a developer or operator of a Platform application or a website using Connect (“application”), the following additional terms apply to you:
9.1 You are responsible for your application and its content. This includes ensuring your application meets our Platform Guidelines.
9.2 When users add your application or connect it to their Facebook account, they give permission for you to receive certain data relating to them. Your access to and use of that data will be limited as follows:
9.2.1 You will only use the data you receive for your application, and will only use it in connection with Facebook.
9.2.2 You will make it clear to users how you are going to use, display, or share their data.
9.2.3 You will not use, display, or share a user’s data in a manner inconsistent with the user’s privacy settings without the user’s consent.
9.2.4 You will delete all data you received from us relating to any user who removes or disconnects from your application unless the user gives you permission to keep it.
9.2.5 You will delete all data you received from Facebook if we disable your application or ask you to do so.
9.2.6 We can require you to update any data you have received from us.
9.2.7 We can limit your access to data.
9.2.8 You will not transfer the data you receive from us without our prior consent.
9.3 You will not give us data that you independently collect from a user or a user’s content without that user’s consent.
9.4 You will make it easy for users to remove or disconnect from your application.
9.5 You will make it easy for users to contact you. We can also share your email address with users.
9.6 You will provide customer support for your application.
9.7 You will not show ads or web search boxes on user profiles.
9.8 We give you all rights necessary to use the code, APIs, or tools we provide to you, but only in connection with your application.
9.9 You will not sell, transfer, or sublicense our code, APIs, or tools to anyone.
9.10 You will not misrepresent your relationship with Facebook to others.
9.11 You may use the logos we make available to developers so long as you follow our developer branding guidelines. You may also issue a press release or other public statement so long as you follow our developer PR policy.
9.12 We can issue a press release describing our relationship with you.
9.13 You will comply with all applicable laws. In particular you will (if applicable):
9.13.1 have a policy for removing infringing content and terminating repeat infringers that complies with the Digital Millennium Copyright Act.
9.13.2 comply with the Video Privacy Protection Act (“VPPA”), and will obtain explicit, opt-in consent from users prior to sharing with Facebook user data subject to the VPPA. You acknowledge Facebook has no obligations under the VPPA.
9.14 We do not guarantee that Platform will always be free.
9.15 You give us all rights necessary to enable your application to work with Facebook, including the right to:
9.15.1 incorporate your content into streams, profiles, and user action stories;
9.15.2 link to or frame your application; and
9.15.3 place content, including ads, around your application.
9.16 We can analyze your application, content, and data for any purpose, including commercial (such as for targeting the delivery of advertisements and indexing content for search).
9.17 To ensure your application is safe for users, we can audit it.
9.18 We can create applications that offer similar features and services to, or otherwise compete with, your application.
10. About Advertisements on Facebook
Our goal is to deliver ads that are not only valuable to advertisers, but also valuable to you. In order to do that, you agree to the following:
10.1 You can use your privacy settings to limit how your name and profile picture may be associated with commercial or sponsored content. You give us permission to use your name and profile picture in connection with that content, subject to the limits you place.
10.2 We do not give your content to advertisers.
10.3 You understand that we may not always identify paid services and communications as such.
11. Special Provisions Applicable to Advertisers
You can target your specific audience by buying ads on Facebook or our publisher network. The following additional terms apply to you if you place an order through our online advertising portal (“Order”):
11.1 When you place an Order, you will tell us the type of advertising you want to buy, the amount you want to spend, and your bid. If we accept your Order, we will deliver your ads as inventory becomes available.
11.2 You will pay for your Orders in accordance with our Payments Terms. The amount you owe will be calculated based on our tracking mechanisms.
11.3 Your ads will comply with our ad guidelines.
11.4 We will determine the size, placement, and positioning of your ads.
11.5 We do not guarantee the activity that your ads will receive, such as the number of clicks you will get.
11.6 We cannot control how people interact with your ads, and are not responsible for click fraud or other improper actions that affect the cost of running ads.
11.7 You will not offer any contest or sweepstakes (“promotion”) without our prior written consent. If we consent, you take full responsibility for the promotion, and will follow our promotions guidelines and all applicable laws.
11.8 You can cancel your Order at any time through our online portal, but it may take us seven days before the ad stops running.
11.9 Our license to run your ad will end when we have completed your Order. You understand, however, that if users have interacted with your ads, your ads may remain until the users delete it.
11.10 We can use your ads and related information for marketing or promotional purposes.
11.11 You will not issue any press release or make public statements about your relationship with Facebook without written permission.
11.12 We may reject or remove any ad for any reason.
If you are placing ads on someone else’s behalf, we need to make sure you have permission to place those ads, including the following:
11.13 You warrant that you have the legal authority to bind the advertiser to this Statement.
11.14 You agree that if the advertiser you represent violates this Statement, we may hold you responsible for that violation.
12.1 We can change this Statement so long as we provide you notice through Facebook (unless you opt-out of such notice) and an opportunity to comment.
12.2 For changes to sections 7, 8, 9, and 11 (sections relating to payments, application developers, website operators, and advertisers), we will give you a minimum of three days notice. For all other changes we will give you a minimum of seven days notice.
12.3 If more than 7,000 users comment on the proposed change, we will also give you the opportunity to participate in a vote in which you will be provided alternatives. The vote shall be binding on us if more than 30% of all active registered users as of the date of the notice vote.
12.4 We can make changes for legal or administrative reasons upon notice without opportunity to comment.
If you violate the letter or spirit of this Statement, or otherwise create possible legal exposure for us, we can stop providing all or part of Facebook to you. We will generally try to notify you, but have no obligation to do so. You may also delete your account or disable your application at any time. In all such cases, this Statement shall terminate, but the following provisions will still apply: 2.2, 2.4, 3-5, 8.2, 9.1-9.3, 9.9, 9.10, 9.13, 9.15.1, 9.18, 10.3, 11.2, 11.5, 11.6, 11.9, 11.10, 11.13, 11.14, and 13-16.
14.1 You will resolve any claim, cause of action or dispute (“claim”) you have with us arising out of or relating to this Statement or Facebook in a state or federal court located in Santa Clara County. The laws of the State of California will govern this Statement, as well as any claim that might arise between you and us, without regard to conflict of law provisions. You agree to submit to the personal jurisdiction of the courts located in Santa Clara County, California for the purpose of litigating all such claims.
14.2 If anyone brings a claim against us related to your actions or your content on Facebook, you will indemnify and hold us harmless from and against all damages, losses, and expenses of any kind (including reasonable legal fees and costs) related to such claim.
14.3 WE TRY TO KEEP FACEBOOK UP, BUG-FREE, AND SAFE, BUT YOU USE IT AT YOUR OWN RISK. WE ARE PROVIDING FACEBOOK “AS IS” WITHOUT ANY EXPRESS OR IMPLIED WARRANTIES INCLUDING, BUT NOT LIMITED TO, IMPLIED WARRANTIES OF MERCHANTABILITY, FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE, AND NON-INFRINGEMENT. WE DO NOT GUARANTEE THAT FACEBOOK WILL BE SAFE OR SECURE. FACEBOOK IS NOT RESPONSIBLE FOR THE ACTIONS OR CONTENT OF THIRD PARTIES, AND YOU RELEASE US, OUR DIRECTORS, OFFICERS, EMPLOYEES, AND AGENTS FROM ANY CLAIMS AND DAMAGES, KNOWN AND UNKNOWN, ARISING OUT OF OR IN ANY WAY CONNECTED WITH ANY CLAIM YOU HAVE AGAINST ANY SUCH THIRD PARTIES. IF YOU ARE A CALIFORNIA RESIDENT, YOU WAIVE CALIFORNIA CIVIL CODE §1542, WHICH SAYS: “A GENERAL RELEASE DOES NOT EXTEND TO CLAIMS WHICH THE CREDITOR DOES NOT KNOW OR SUSPECT TO EXIST IN HIS FAVOR AT THE TIME OF EXECUTING THE RELEASE, WHICH IF KNOWN BY HIM MUST HAVE MATERIALLY AFFECTED HIS SETTLEMENT WITH THE DEBTOR.” WE WILL NOT BE LIABLE TO YOU FOR ANY LOST PROFITS OR OTHER CONSEQUENTIAL, SPECIAL, INDIRECT, OR INCIDENTAL DAMAGES ARISING OUT OF OR IN CONNECTION WITH THIS STATEMENT OR FACEBOOK, EVEN IF WE HAVE BEEN ADVISED OF THE POSSIBILITY OF SUCH DAMAGES. OUR AGGREGATE LIABILITY ARISING OUT OF THIS STATEMENT OR FACEBOOK WILL NOT EXCEED THE GREATER OF ONE HUNDRED DOLLARS ($100) OR THE AMOUNT YOU HAVE PAID US IN THE PAST TWELVE MONTHS. APPLICABLE LAW MAY NOT ALLOW THE LIMITATION OR EXCLUSION OF LIABILITY OR INCIDENTAL OR CONSEQUENTIAL DAMAGES, SO THE ABOVE LIMITATION OR EXCLUSION MAY NOT APPLY TO YOU. IN SUCH CASES, FACEBOOK’S LIABILITY WILL BE LIMITED TO THE FULLEST EXTENT PERMITTED BY APPLICABLE LAW.
15.1 By “Facebook” we mean the features and services we make available, including through (a) our website at www.facebook.com and any other Facebook branded or co-branded websites (including sub-domains, international versions, and mobile versions); (b) our Platform; and (c) other media, devices or networks now existing or later developed.
15.2 By “us,” “we” and “our” we mean Facebook, Inc. and/or its affiliates.
15.3 By “Platform” we mean a set of APIs and services that enable applications or services to retrieve data from Facebook and provide data to us relating to Facebook users.
16.1 This Statement makes up the entire agreement between the parties regarding Facebook, and supersedes any prior agreements.
16.2 If any portion of this Statement is found to be unenforceable, the remaining portion will remain in full force and effect.
16.3 If we fail to enforce any of this Statement, it will not be considered a waiver.
16.4 Any amendment to or waiver of this Statement must be made in writing and signed by us.
16.5 You will not transfer any of your rights or obligations under this Statement to anyone else without our consent.
16.6 All of our rights and obligations under this Statement are freely assignable by us in connection with a merger, acquisition, or sale of assets, or by operation of law or otherwise.
16.7 Nothing in this Agreement shall prevent us from complying with the law.