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States, including Utah, settle differences with Facebook

Exterior of Facebook headquarters in Palo Alto, Calif., Monday, Jan. 3, 2011.
Exterior of Facebook headquarters in Palo Alto, Calif., Monday, Jan. 3, 2011.
AP Photo/Paul Sakuma

SALT LAKE CITY — Attorneys general in 15 states including Utah have reached a settlement with Facebook to resolve concerns over the social network's service agreement.

The states 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 a similar agreement the company reached with the federal government more than a year ago, which allowed 33 federal agencies to connect with their constituents through Facebook.

"We are pleased Facebook was willing to work with us to address some of our legal concerns and our ability to connect with Utahns," Utah Attorney General Mark Shurtleff said in a statement.

Facebook 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 legal disputes be handled in California courts and adjudicated under California law;

Require 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.

States that participated in the negotiations were Alaska, Arkansas, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Idaho, Massachusetts, Mississippi, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Carolina, Utah and Washington.

— Dennis Romboy