Rosalie Marshall
February 18, 2009

A change to Facebook’s terms of service, which extends control over user content to profiles that have been shut down, has prompted nearly 20,000 users to join protest groups.

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Users signing a contract with Facebook give full control of their social networking content to the company, including the right to copy, modify, translate and distribute any of their information, and to use images and descriptions of themselves for any purpose, including commercial use and advertising.

Facebook used to relinquish control over content when contracts were terminated, but the latest change to its terms technically allows the site to keep the information forever.

Facebook chief executive Mark Zuckerberg posted a blog entry on Monday in an attempt to explain the new terms after facing unprecedented criticism from the media and thousands of users. “We wouldn’t share your information in a way you wouldn’t want,” he said.

Zuckerberg explained that the change was designed to reassure users that account deactivation would not mean that data they had shared with friends would be wiped from the site.

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