Facebook’s Zuckerberg to Address User Privacy Concerns at Press Conference Thursday

Facebook has called a press conference for 11AM Pacific Time Thursday where Facebook chief Mark Zuckerberg is scheduled to outline steps the company is taking to clarify its terms of service contract that caused a privacy uproar earlier this month.

Attendees were notified "(Zuckerberg) will announce the new steps Facebook is taking to improve user understanding and ownership of the Facebook terms of service and, more generally, the policies of the Facebook service."

Facebook had updated its terms of service earlier this month in hopes to clarify what user generated Facebook content it owned.

Originally the change went largely unnoticed until a bloggers caught wind of the change. The details of the terms of service change were highlighted in an extremely popular blog at the Consumerist Website where people felt Facebook's new terms of service meant "anything you upload to Facebook can be used by Facebook in any way they deem fit, forever, no matter what you do later."

On February 17 Zuckerberg hoped to calm privacy fears amid a user revolt. In a blog post Zuckerber explained the terms of service were revised so that Facebook had the right to share your information with your Facebook friends. Zuckerberg went on to say that Facebook would not, in practice, "share your information in a way you wouldn't want." That didn't satisfy thousands of Facebook users who protested the change calling Zuckerberg's explanation unclear.

Consumer privacy advocate group Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC), as a response to Facebook's change to its terms of service, said it intended to file a formal complaint with the Federal Trade Commission. "What we sensed was taking place was that Facebook was asserting a greater legal authority over the user-generated content," says EPIC Executive Director Marc Rotenberg.

On February 18 Facebook did an about-face on its terms of use. Zuckerberg explained in a blog post: "Over the past few days, we have received a lot of feedback about the new terms we posted two weeks ago. Because of this response, we have decided to return to our previous Terms of Use while we resolve the issues that people have raised."

UPDATE:

From Facebook:

PRESS RELEASE

Facebook Opens Governance of Service and Policy Process to Users

Releases Draft Principles and Statement of Rights and Responsibilities For User Review, Comment and Vote

Facebook today announced a new approach to site governance that offers its users around the world an unprecedented role in determining the future policies governing the service. Facebook released the first proposals subject to these new procedures - The Facebook Principles, a set of values that will guide the development of the service, and Statement of Rights and Responsibilities that make clear Facebook's and users' commitments related to the service. Over the coming weeks, users will have the opportunity to review, comment and vote on these documents. An update to the Privacy Policy is also planned and this change will be subject to similar input.

"As people share more information on services like Facebook, a new relationship is created between Internet companies and the people they serve," said Mark Zuckerberg, founder and CEO of Facebook. "The past week reminded us that users feel a real sense of ownership over Facebook itself, not just the information they share."

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