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Facebook gives you nobody to blame but yourself for possible new policies

Sections: Web, Web 2.0 / Social Networking, Websites

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Facebook has long been the bane of those who value their own privacy over anything else, even if their friends would be the only ones who would see anything. There’s been a misconception among some of those people that people on Facebook don’t value their privacy or the ownership of anything they post on the site. If nothing else, the recent Terms of Service that were instituted for a week and taken down have proven that’s not the case.

All your base are belong to Facebook

For those not in the know, the recent Terms of Service basically had clauses that said Facebook owned everything put on the site, ever, even if it was taken down. Turns out, that annoyed some of the users just a bit, and after a flood of negative comments and groups about the ToS, Facebook reverted back to the old rules. They’ve also decided to add a bit of democracy to the site, so, if nothing else, we have only our fellow users and ourselves to blame if we disagree with any policy changes to the site.

Reform: Principles and Statements

Facebook has done this by adding two groups: “Facebook Town Hall: Proposed Facebook Principles” where Facebook gives its general philosophy on how the site should run, and “Facebook Town Hall: Proposed Statement of Rights & Responsibilities” which is really just a fancy way of saying Terms of Service while trying to make it seem more friendly.

Have your opinion heard

Users can comment on the proposed “Principles” and “Statements” in their corresponding groups, each of which have about 8,000 members at the time of this writing. The way it will work (from what I can gather) is that Facebook will take all user comments into consideration before they publish the “Principles” and “Statements” which will replace the ToS. If 7,000 people comment on any issue, the issue will be put up to vote, and the majority opinion will be what’s put into effect. That is, provided 30 percent of all registered users at that time participate.

Terms of Service for Dummies

Both the proposed “Principles” and “Statements” are written such that they should be easy to understand by just about anyone. The “Principles” much more so as they are simply philosophical and reflect the ideas of free flow of information, transparency, user ownership and general feel-good social messages. The “Statements” list is quite long, and can occasionally read like “Terms of Service for Dummies.” It still has to reflect the legal aspects which are a given, but for most people on the site it shouldn’t be an issue. It can also be a great source of amusement for those of a particular sense of humor. Or those who find it funny that Facebook users can’t use Facebook copyrights or trademarks which include Wall, Poke and Face.

How Facebook does something is none of your business

One big thing, however, is that Facebook will not ask for any user input when it comes to implementing new features. This includes such things as the News Feed and new interface that drew a lot of ire from a lot of vocal users. Facebook seems to recognize that given the choice, most vocal user prefer to stick with the old ways, even if the new stuff is cleaner, more useful and overall better once the initial shock is over with.

Read [Facebook Blog]

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One Comment

  1. IMHO, if a company changes something like this so deeply, they are asking for a lot of problems

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