Facebook modifies terms of service so state can sign up

January 5, 2011

Facebook has more than 500 million users — and Colorado Attorney General John Suthers will soon be one of them.

Suthers’ office led a year-long negotiation with the social networking site on behalf of 13 states to modify the social networking site’s terms of service so they no longer conflict with state constitutions, including Colorado’s. The deal was announced Wednesday.

“We look forward to continuing to work with Facebook and starting a new dialogue with the people of Colorado through the company’s website,” Suthers said in a statement. “Social media is a great way to keep the public apprised of the important work we and other public entities do on behalf of the people of Colorado.”

The changes are technical — modifying the indemnity clause to allow for state constitutional provisions and striking a requirement that disputes be litigated in Facebook’s home state of California, plus adding a requirement that public agencies to link from their Facebook page to their official website. Without the changes, however, state agencies couldn’t legally join the social network (although a few did anyway), said Mike Saccone, spokesman for the attorney general’s office.

Saccone said Suthers wants to be on Facebook for the same reason everyone does: It’s a good way to reach people and stay in touch. He said the AG’s office plans to post news updates and events on its page.

“It’s another great tool to reach out to our constituents,” he said.

Actually, Suthers already has a Facebook page — albeit an unofficial one that simply repeats the information from his Wikipedia entry. Suthers’ re-election campaign also had Facebook page last fall, plus there are also no fewer than five Facebook pages attacking Suthers for joining a lawsuit challenging the national health care reform bill.

If Suthers has a personal Facebook page, however, he’s set all of his information to “private.”

Saccone said the attorney general’s official page would be up soon, but he couldn’t say when.

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