A couple of weeks ago Facebook revised their terms of use hoping to clarify some parts of their website and the way they do business. Instead of clarifying, they ended up causing an online riot.

As of this morning, they’ve done an about face.

facebook terms of service

Due to the backlash that swept through the blogosphere, they had two choices: retreat back to the old terms, or rewrite them again. As of now they have chosen to revert back to the old.

Facebook still wants to change the terms and put them in a language that better suits the reality of being online. But they will be will be doing it with the help of the 175 million people that currently use Facebook (if you want to take part, join the Facebook Bill of Rights and Responsibilities group).

So what does all this mean? Here are a few thoughts.

  • Facebook is a free service. And its on the Internet. By putting any information onto a source like Facebook, you’re giving them certain rights to the information. If you put it online, you lose certain control. Period.
  • With the Internet, people have control (as opposed to the big corporations). Look what a few bloggers can do! The Facebook change was announced Sunday and in a matter of hours, it swept through a ton of blogs and through every industry. Because of the fast action, Facebook was forced to make a change – fast. That’s really the power of the people.
  • It’s all about give and take. If you want to have 100 percent control, you cannot play online. If you want the exposure and the ability to market your business to the masses, you have to be willing to play in the sandbox with other players. And that means losing some of your control.
  • Facebook is not alone. I guarantee if you read the terms of use of any other type of social or information sharing site, you’ll find similar phrases. As a company, they have to have some rights over the material you place on their sites. And with the viral atmosphere of being online, things take on a life of their own.

So, what’s your opinion? How will this change the way you play in the online world?

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