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After rules switch fuels furor, Facebook tries to save face

Facebook has been in my face quite a bit lately.

Yes, I’m a member, along with more than 175 million others who have created a profile and use the social networking site. I’m on the site — or the mobile version of the site — daily, even if I’m only checking the status of my friends.

I’d describe myself as a casual user, having posted just a handful of photos, updated my status just a few times a week and declined more invitations to join groups than I’ve accepted. Several of my Facebook friends share far more details of their lives than I ever would. Maybe, just maybe, I think they’re spending more time on Facebook — and their computers — than is healthy.

Controversy swirled around Facebook recently as the site briefly changed its terms of use. Some observers believed the changes resulted in Facebook claiming ownership of everything created by its members, which ruffled more than a few cyberfeathers.

Facebook creator Mark Zuckerberg explained his site’s retreat to its previous terms in a blog. He wrote: "Over the past couple of days, we received a lot of questions and comments about the changes and what they mean for people and their information. Based on this feedback, we have decided to return to our previous terms of use while we resolve the issues that people have raised."

Visit the blog (http://tinyurl.com/2fbqcj) for more details of the controversy.

The site clarified its position by giving simple answers to users’ concerns. They include, and I quote:

• You own your information. Facebook does not. This includes your photos and all other content.

• Facebook doesn’t claim rights to any of your photos or other content. We need a license in order to help you share information with your friends, but we don’t claim to own your information.

• We won’t use the information you share on Facebook for anything you haven’t asked us to. We realize our current terms are too broad here and they make it seem like we might share information in ways you don’t want, but this isn’t what we’re doing.

• We will not share your information with anyone if you deactivate your account. If you’ve already sent a friend a message, they’ll still have that message. However, when you deactivate your account, all of your photos and other content are removed.

• We apologize for the confusion around these issues. We never intended to claim ownership over people’s content even though that’s what it seems like to many people. This was a mistake and we apologize for the confusion.

Now, I need to carve out time to compose my "25 Random Things" list. I’ve had five requests from Facebook friends to share this info. Does that mean I need to do a list of 125 things about me?

Share your Internet story with me at agibes@reviewjournal.com.

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