Facebook users vote on terms of use

Facebook users can begin voting on the site's new terms of use, following the company's u-turn in February.

Facebook users can begin voting on the site's new terms of use, following the company's u-turn in February.

The company attempted to introduce a new governance document in February, which outraged photographers because it effectively meant that users would give up their rights to the images they upload. At the time, CEO Mark Zukcerberg said, "Last week, we returned to our previous Terms of Use as we worked on a new set of governing documents that would more clearly explain the relationship between Facebook and its users."

In response to users fearing they would lose their copyright material, Facebook's proposed terms of use has added a section covering privacy and how this relates to reproducing images on other parts of the social networking site. "If you set your privacy settings so that only your friends can see a photo, we cannot show that photo to anyone but your friends. Similarly, if you opt out of Social Ads in your Privacy Settings, we will respect your decision. Second, the license you give us ends when you delete your copyrighted content."

Some users asked if Facebook would allow images to be licenced under a Creative Common (CC) licensing agreement. The company said in was impractical for Facebook to use Creative Common licensing. "We do not believe [CC] is feasible in a system with more than 175 million active registered users."

Users also complained that Facebook would keep the images indefinitely, even after they had left the site. The proposed changes means that users' information will be deleted when they delete their account from Facebook. "The license now ends when a user deletes their content or their account. In addition, we give users control over their content by making it subject to their Privacy Settings."

Facebook has also revised its policy on third-party applications. It said, "We unfortunately do not have the ability to control third-party applications, and cannot guarantee they are completely safe. However, if you feel that a particular application violates this Statement, please let us know by going to the application's About page and clicking Report Application."

The proposal also clarifies the legal aspects of Facebook. "You are bound by the laws of the country that you live in. You may also need to comply with the laws of other jurisdictions, including the laws of the United States (because our headquarters are based in the US)."

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