Facebook Terms of Service Change Rapidly Turns Into a PR Nightmare

Talk about a snowball effect. Since Consumerist posted the article about Facebook’s subtle change of terms over the weekend, users have begun lashing out about it and is now sparking a formal complaint to the FTC. We saw similar complaints filed during Facebook’s infamous Beacon fiasco back at the end of 2007, although one class action suit wasn’t filed until August of last year.

One group, “People Against the new Terms of Service (TOS)“, has been at the forefront of the backlash although the group doesn’t appear to be gaining a ton of traction beyond the 58,000 members that have joined it. While 58,000 users is nothing to sneeze at, it hasn’t yet surged to levels witnessed during Facebook’s news feed launch or during the Beacon backlash.

The media has been covering the latest issue heavily though as Facebook privacy issues always gain a lot of attention. Thanks to all the media coverage, Barry Schnitt of Facebook’s communications department posted an entry in the forum of the group previously highlighted:

Greetings all,

We’re really glad to see how important Facebook is to all of you and we want to be responsive to your concerns. To help facilitate this, I propose the members of this group post their specific questions as part of this discussion topic. Tomorrow (today was supposed to be a holiday for Facebook but it didn’t pan out that way for some of us :-), I’ll work with the legal team and others within the company to get answers.

Depending on the scale of the response from the group, we may not be able to get to everyone but you have our commitment to do our best to respond to the questions and concerns that are most common, relevant and significant. Perhaps, Anne Katherine, the admin of the group, can help flag some of these questions?

We look forward to your continued questions and comments. Thanks!


So far 169 people have posted over 225 replies to Barry’s comment but there has been no other update. With all the hype over the past couple days, Facebook could soon find themselves forced to update the terms of service as many have dismissed Mark Zuckerberg’s post from yesterday. So will Facebook backdown and remove the clause suggesting that they own all content you’ve ever posted indefinitely?

We’ll have to wait and see but there’s a good chance we’ll receive an update sooner rather than later.