Facebook examining comments on terms of service changes

Facebook today stopped allowing comments on changes it plans to make to its terms of service. After the company goes over all the feedback, it will update its terms of service.
Written by Emil Protalinski, Contributor

As expected, Facebook today ended the comment period for the update its Statement of Rights and Responsibilities. Last week, the company asked its users to comment on the changes to its terms of service. Here's the breakdown:

  • 526 comments were made in English.
  • 96 comments were made in French.
  • 186 comments were made in Spanish.
  • 36,878 comments were made in German.
  • 53 comments were made in Portuguese.
  • 37 comments were made in Turkish.
  • 0 comments were made in Japanese.
  • 0 comments were made in Korean.

Facebook has repeatedly come under fire in Germany, where privacy is a particularly sensitive issue for historical reasons. If you're interested in reading more, see these links:

Okay, now back to the changes. The social networking giant hasn't given a date for the update yet, according to a post from Facebook Site Governance:

The comment period for our proposed new Statement of Rights and Responsibilities is now complete. Thank you for your participation. We plan to review and analyze your comments over the coming days and will keep you posted on next steps.

This update affects all Facebook users: everyone who uses the social network has to be in accordance with its terms of service. Here are some of the changes Facebook is planning to make:

  • Sharing Your Content and Information. Facebook says it has updated the language to be clearer and consistent with what has long been reflected in its Data Use Policy and its practices – that when you, or friends you have authorized to see your information, use an App, you are sharing your info with that App, which is what you consented to when you installed the App.
  • Safety. In this section, Facebook has changed the language from "hateful" content to "hate speech" because it thinks the term "hate speech" better captures its policy on prohibited content, which hasn't changed. This is also consistent with the company's new "Community Standards."
  • Special Provisions Applicable to Social Plugins. This section previously applied to Share Links, but those provisions also apply to the use of all Social Plugins. Facebook has thus replaced references to Share Links with Social Plugins.
  • Special Provisions Applicable to Software. Facebook says it wants to ensure its products, which may include downloadable products, are current. The company has added this section to give you notice that it may provide upgrades and updates to your downloaded products as they become available. Additionally, Facebook has included language that prohibits users from trying to extract protected source code from its products unless it has granted the user express permission.

You can view a 9-page document of the tracked changes (PDF). This document will likely change slightly between now and whenever Facebook addresses some of what users have complained about.

Update on March 23: This article previously incorrectly referred to the document as the privacy policy. Facebook is updating its terms of service, not its privacy policy.

Facebook last updated its terms of service in April 2011. The company updated its privacy policy in September 2011, and that's when the name was changed to "Data Use Policy."

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