Facebook?s retreat ends a hullabaloo in which tens of thousands of Facebook members joined groups devoted to protesting the changes and bloggers heaped scorn and criticism on the company. Facebook sought to limit the damage from an uproar that in many ways was reminiscent of the flap in 2007 over its Beacon advertising service.

That project shared details of members? activities on certain outside sites to all of their Facebook friends. The Electronic Privacy Information Center, along with 25 other consumer interest groups, had planned to file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission on Wednesday. The complaint was going to claim that Facebook?s new rules were unfair and deceptive trade practices, because the company had repeatedly promised users that they owned their content but appeared to be saying something else in its revised terms.

The center, based in Washington, was prepared to argue that Facebook?s new rules were meant to accompany changes to the site that would give developers and advertisers the ability to access users? contributions, like status updates, which many members use to reveal details about their lives, for example, where they are traveling.

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