Thursday, January 6, 2011
Facebook has agreed to modify its terms and conditions to allow state and local government agencies to use the social media Web site, announced Attorney General Jim Hood today.
The new terms, facilitated through the National Association of Attorneys General (NAAG) and the National Association of State Chief Information Officers (NASCIO), resolve a series of legal issues that were caused by the sites standard terms of service agreement. "Facebook provides a tremendous venue for state agencies and their local counterparts to keep their constituents apprized of the great work they do," said Attorney General Hood. "We and our partner agencies look forward to using the site to stay in contact with the public." Facebook has modified portions of its terms of service agreement that all users must agree to in order to use the site. The multi state group began working with Facebook nearly a year ago after discovering a series of issues public agencies encountered while trying to use the site. The new terms mirror, in many ways, a similar agreement the social media company reached with the federal government more than a year ago, which allowed 33 federal government agencies to connect with their constituents through Facebook. Facebook has specifically agreed to modify the provisions of its terms and conditions to:
●Strike the indemnity clause except to the extent indemnity is allowed by a states 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 Web site prominently on any Facebook page.
●Encourage amicable resolution between public entities and Facebook over any disputes. The modifications will immediately apply to state and local government agencies already on Facebook. The states that participated in the multi-state negotiations were Alaska, Arkansas, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Idaho, Massachusetts, Mississippi, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Carolina, Utah and Washington.