Facebook revises terms for state and local governments
The social networking site Facebook has revised the standard terms of service for state and local governments through its “Pages” agreement, according to the Lexington, Ky.-based National Association of State Chief Information Officers (NASCIO) Social Media Legal Workgroup and the National Association of Attorneys General (NAAG). The revised terms resolve a series of legal issues identified by states in Facebook’s standard terms of service and are available for immediate use.
Facebook specifically has agreed to:
· strike the indemnity clause except to the extent indemnity is allowed by a state’s constitution or law;
· strike language requiring that legal disputes be venued in California courts and adjudicated under California law;
· require that a public agency include language directing consumers to its official website prominently on any Facebook page;
· and encourage amicable resolution between public entities and Facebook over any disputes.
A September 2010 NASCIO survey, “Friends, Followers, and Feeds: a National Survey of Social Media Use in State Government,” found that legal problems, such as those caused by the original Facebook terms of service, were among the most important barriers to broader social media adoption among state governments, said Doug Robinson, NASCIO’s executive director, in a statement. “Terms of service problems have impeded broader use of Facebook and other social media tools, as states push to expand use of the tools to enhance services, openness and transparency,” said Robinson. “This agreement will help many states leverage social media tools to enhance communication with constituents.”
The modifications will immediately apply to state and local government agencies already on Facebook. NASCIO expects the Facebook agreement will be used as a model for its continuing efforts to revise terms with other social media providers.
Read more about the new agreement.