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Facebook unveils changes in terms of use
PTI
Houston, April 21, 2012
First Published: 10:42 IST(21/4/2012)
Last Updated: 15:55 IST(21/4/2012)
Facebook is likely to file papers for an IPO seeking to raise at least $5 billion. Reuters/Robert Galbraith/File photo

Social networking site Facebook has unveiled changes to its new terms of service, tweaking earlier drafts in an apparent effort to ease users' concerns about privacy and how their information is used.

Based on the feedback from users, Facebook released a new set of proposed changes on Friday and offered more detailed explanation of its revisions.

Since 2009 the social network has taken a unique approach with its "Statements of Rights and Responsibilities (SRR)", which is what it calls its terms of service.

Before instituting any new policies, the company shares proposed changes with users, who then have a period of time to comment and ask questions.

In some cases, Facebook even puts issues up to a vote.

Most recently, the company made edits and offered answers to questions related to a draft of a new Statement of Rights and Responsibilities it presented in March.

Facebook outlined the revisions in a separate document.

The biggest change was the deletion of a new term that stated: "Some or all of Facebook's services and features may not be available to users in certain geographic areas. We reserve the right to exclude or limit the provision of any service or feature in our sole discretion."

The company noted that users had asked whether this meant Facebook could in future decide to censor the activities on the network by activists or other users.

"After reviewing your comments to this proposed language, we decided that the additional provision we proposed was open to misinterpretation," Facebook said.

"The proposed change was intended to cover circumstances that may prevent us from providing our services. For instance, the Internet may go down, certain features may not be available in some locations, or a regime may block our service in their country."

"When you or others who can see your content and information use an application, your content and information is shared with the application" became: "When you use an application, the application may ask for your permission to access your content and information as well as content and information that others have shared with you."

"You will not tag users or send email invitations to non-users without their consent or tag users if you know they do not wish to be tagged" was also changed to: "You will not tag users or send email invitations to non-users without their consent. Facebook offers social reporting tools to enable users to provide feedback about tagging," Facebook said.

Where Facebook had decided not to alter its revisions, but where users had nonetheless complained, the company provided "further explanations" for the changes it was making.

"We are not proposing any updates to that document at this time. Instead, we proposed some mostly administrative and clarifying changes (e.g., 'profile' to 'timeline') to the SRR."

"Some of you wanted us to explain further why we made a change from prohibiting "hateful" content to "hate speech" in Section 3.7. We think the term 'hate speech' better captures our policy on prohibited content, which hasn't changed. Sometimes discussions on Facebook include controversial content – even content that someone may view as 'hateful'."

While we allow discussion of controversial ideas, institutions, events, and practices, we do not tolerate hate speech. We are not creating profiles of non-users. There are lots of instances where we would want a non-user who interacts with Facebook to be subject to our terms, it said.

Facebook users can comment on the latest round of proposed changes until April 27, the post said.


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