The writing’s on the wall for Facebook data policy

Jeremy Phillips

Social network service Facebook has made an embarrassing volte-face in the wake of furious reaction to the changes it unilaterally made to its terms of service. On 4 February Facebook — which originally deleted user records of members who departed the network — indicated that it would continue to keep a full record of each user’s messages, actions and updates even once membership had been terminated.

Following the outcry by users, privacy groups and the press, Facebook has agreed to revert to its previous terms, at any rate for the time being.

Facebook’s new conditions also raised key issues for copyright law too: the site asserted a licence to use all materials posted by its members in perpetuity. Since much of the material on Facebook is not posted by or with the licence of its copyright owners, the legal consequences both for Facebook and its current and past members could be serious.

Facebook terms, as of September 2008, here
See comments and reports in The Times Online, the BBC website, PC Pro and The Register
Why Facebook is growing wrinkles here

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