"We think that a lot of the language in our terms is overly formal and protective so we don't plan to leave it there for long," he wrote. "Our next version will be a substantial revision from where we are now. It will reflect the principles ... around how people share and control their information, and it will be written clearly in langauge everyone can understand. Since this will be the governing document that we all live by, Facebook users will have a lot of input in crafting these issues."
Facebook has also created a Bill of Rights and Responsibilties Group, where members can begin posting questions and comments. By early Wednesday, the group had nearly 25,000 members (Facebook itself has 175 million members.)
Facebook removed language that said if you remove anything you've posted to Facebook, the company relinquished any rights to it with the exception of keeping an archival copy.
The Consumerist interpreted the deletion to mean that "now, anything you upload to Facebook can be used by Facebook in any way they deem fit, forever, no matter what you do later."
The Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC) in Washington planned to file a complaint today with the Federal Trade Commission asking Facebook to go back to its original agreement.
"I think in simple terms it's a tug of war over user data," says Marc Rotenberg, executive director of EPIC. "People put information on a Facebook page to share with friends. But it's pretty much with the understanding that they're deciding what to post and who has access to it."
On Facebook, more than 43,000 members joined a community group protesting the language change. Overall, Facebook has 175 million members worldwide.
"Go ahead and be outraged," wrote blogger Amanda L. French after comparing Facebook's agreement with agreements at MySpace, Flickr, Picasa, YouTube, LinkedIn and Twitter. "Facebook's claims to your content are extraordinarily grabby."
In his blog post Monday, Zuckerberg acknowledged the "difficult terrain" and potential "missteps." "We take these issues and our responsibility to help resolve them very seriously."
But this isn't the first time Facebook has met controversy. In 2007 the company let users opt out of a tracking tool called Beacon after at first being reluctant to do so. "Sometimes they push a little far," Rotenberg says.
For his part, Rotenberg isn't about to ditch the service. "Concerns about privacy are not the reason to not use Facebook," he says. "It should be the reason to fix Facebook."