Intellectual Property topics can come from all sorts of unexpected places. The headline above was the lead story facing me as I picked up my local free Metro newspaper this morning.
Firstly, I was surprised to see the social networking phenomenon making it to the forefront of ‘old media’, and secondly, surprised to see Facebook backing down in the face of user complaints so quickly.
The last major U-Turn from Facebook I am aware of was in November 2007 when they removed their online tracking of purchases after more than 50,000 Facebook members signed a petition objecting to the program. Facebook Retreats on Online Tracking.
This time the response from the company has been much more swift, and this evening when I logged into Facebook I was confronted with the message below:
Two weeks ago the site altered its terms of service so that it continued to retain a copy of all a user’s messages, actions and updates – even if they left the network. Until the change, Facebook’s policy was to delete all traces of a user if they chose to quit the site.
After the potential scope of the new legal wording became clear, thousands of outraged Facebook users and privacy campaigners lobbied for the world’s largest social network to revert to its old terms of service.
On Monday it seemed these calls were falling on deaf ears after Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg defended the changes in a blogpost, and suggested that users should trust the site with their data.
However, just 24 hours later the company decided to back down. In a message to users last night, Facebook said it would be reverting to its previous terms and conditions for the time being.