Direct Line Blog

At Facebook, trust is the real Terms of Use

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When Facebook changed its Terms of Use this week, it seemed like every user who read about it on Consumerist had a big ol' cow, which led the social networking site to change right back to its old Terms of Use. But was it really such a big deal? In my opinion, no -- the change in the T of U amounted to three lines of legalese that didn't do much more than add some protective formal verbiage. But the underlying issue is bigger: How much do you trust Facebook? CEO Mark Zuckerberg really wants you to trust him and his company, as he reiterated on his blog the other day: "In reality, we wouldn't share your information in a way you wouldn't want. The trust you place in us as a safe place to share information is the most important part of what makes Facebook work. Our goal is to build great products and to communicate clearly to help people share more information in this trusted environment." The question is, do you believe that or not? If you do, then both versions of the Terms of Use (which, btw, I wonder how much anyone reads on other, equally privacy-questionable sites) would likely be fine. If you don't, then neither -- and none -- will likely be wholly satisfactory.
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