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Press Room

For Immediate Release: January 05, 2011

Attorneys General Negotiate Facebook Agreement for State Government Use

Washington, DC --The National Association of Attorneys General (NAAG) is announcing that a working group comprised of 15 state Attorneys General and representatives of the National Association of State Chief Information Officers (NASCIO) reached an agreement with Facebook to modify its terms and conditions for state and local government agency use. It resolves a series of legal issues that were caused by Facebook’s standard terms of service agreement.

“We are pleased that Facebook has responded to state concerns,” Colorado Attorney General John Suthers said. Attorney General Suthers and Washington Attorney General Rob McKenna led the working group. “We look forward to continuing to work with Facebook as we and our peer states start a new dialogue with our constituents,” said Attorney General Suthers.

Facebook has modified portions of its terms of service agreement that all users must agree to in order to use the site. The multistate 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 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.

The modifications will immediately apply to state and local government agencies already on Facebook.

The state Attorneys General offices that participated in the multistate negotiations were Alaska, Arkansas, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Idaho, Massachusetts, Mississippi, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Carolina, Utah and Washington.

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The National Association of Attorneys General (NAAG), www.naag.org, was founded in 1907 to help Attorneys General fulfill the responsibilities of their office and to assist in the delivery of high quality legal services to the states and territorial jurisdictions.

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