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Oklahoma joins a multistate agreement with Facebook

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January 15, 2011

By Eileen McGuire-Mahony

15 states have resolved liability concerns for their state agencies via a modified terms of service agreement

OKLAHOMA CITY, Oklahoma: State and local political entities have been given the greenlight to join FaceBook after the state's Attorney General, Scott Pruitt, and Chief Information Officer, Alex Pettit, negotiated special terms of service with the social networking platform. The chief barrier to allowing government entities in the state to have FaceBook pages was concern the generic terms of service could leave Oklahoma's officials and offices vulnerable to lawsuits.[1]

Based on the Federal government's agreement with FaceBook, Oklahoma's agreement is effective immedately and applies to all state government offices that already have a page. Oklahoma was one the states that consulted on social media issues in collaboration with the National Association of State Chief Information Officers and the National Association of Attorneys General, giving the state additional experience going into negotiations.[2]

Attonrney's General in Colorado and Washington led the year-long negotiations. Overall, the modified terms deal with compensation for liability and loss and address the requirement that any disputes be adjudicated in California courts.

The specific clauses that differ from the standard terms of service are:

  • 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 Web site prominently on any Facebook page; and,
  • Encourage amicable resolution between public entities and Facebook over any disputes.

In addition to Oklahoma, 14 other states signed on for the modified terms for their agencies: Alaska, Arkansas, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Idaho, Massachusetts, Mississippi, North Dakota, Ohio, Oregon, South Carolina, Utah and Washington.