Facebook backs down on owning rights to users' info

Founder Mark Zuckerberg posted a blog early this morning saying, "We have decided to return to our previous terms of use while we resolve the issues that people have raised."

The site had changed its terms to give itself rights over users' photos, wall posts and all other information even if users delete the content and cancel their membership on the site.

The move caused an outcry among privacy campaigners and more than
25 000 users joined Facebook groups to protest.

The new terms say, "If you choose to remove your User Content you acknowledge that the Company may retain archived copies of your User Content."

Zuckerberg explained in his blog last night, "When a person shares something like a message with a friend, two copies of that information are created - one in the person's sent messages box and the other in their friend's inbox.

Even if the person deactivates their account, their friend still has a copy of that message. We think this is the right way for Facebook to work, and it is consistent with how other services like e-mail work. One of the reasons we updated our terms was to make this more clear."

He insisted the company would not share people's information in a way they would not want, but this morning the company bowed to pressure and reverted back to its previous terms "while we resolve the issues that people have raised".

Zuckerberg said he expects a new version of the terms, written in "language everyone can understand", will be released in the next few weeks.

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