Facebook: Lead, Follow or Gimme a Hug

Hot off the erm… screen: Another Facebook note concerning their change in the Terms of Service: they’re soliciting user input on how to shape it. So go ahead, all 175 million Facebook users. Flood Facebook central with your grocery list of demands, desires and dreams. That’ll work.

Today we announced new opportunities for users to play a meaningful role in determining the policies governing our site. We released the first proposals subject to these procedures – The Facebook Principles, a set of values that will guide the development of the service, and Statement of Rights and Responsibilities that governs Facebook’s operations. Users will have the opportunity to review, comment and vote on these documents over the coming weeks and, if they are approved, other future policy changes. We’ve posted the documents in separate groups and invite you to offer comments and suggestions. For more information and links to the two groups, check out the Facebook Blog.

On the other hand, Facebook could just lead by crafting a reasonable and simple-to-understand ToS that guarantees user ownership of user content, and that grants Facebook a license to provide the Facebook service for a period of time determined by the length of the user’s membership and desire to keep user content up and available. This would alleviate the need for a public hug, and forego the onslaught of millions of divergent opinions.

From Zuckerberg’s post on the Facebook blog:

Our main goal at Facebook is to help make the world more open and transparent. We believe that if we want to lead the world in this direction, then we must set an example by running our service in this way.


Beginning today, we are giving you a greater opportunity to voice your opinion over how Facebook is governed. We’re starting this off by publishing two new documents for your review and comment. The first is the Facebook Principles, which defines your rights and will serve as the guiding framework behind any policy we’ll consider—or the reason we won’t consider others. The second document is the Statement of Rights and Responsibilities, which will replace the existing Terms of Use. With both documents, we tried hard to simplify the language so you have a clear understanding of how Facebook will be run. We’ve created separate groups for each document so you can read them and provide comments and feedback. You can find the Facebook Principles here and the Statement of Rights and Responsibilities here. Before these new proposals go into effect, you’ll also have the ability to vote for or against proposed changes.

Puh-leeze.. I expect that first line to be uttered by a contestant for Miss America. “and along with wanting to help old people, I want to help make the world more open and transparent.”  What is transparent is the fact that they rattled a few cages by a ToS change that was easily interpreted to mean what they probably did not intend. But perhaps they did. Again, without both an unambiguous ToS and any understandable business model, data mining is perhaps the most logical conclusion. And it still is. It will be interesting to see how they weave their new ToS with user input and financial intent.

Rest assured the saga will continue, and we’ll be right there to cover this amorphous entity as it makes its ponderous path through corporate… erm… have they made any money yet?

Comments are closed.