Facebook's democratic process
Here’s the key sentence written by Zuckerberg, which is the sentiment that all Facebook users should now hold the site to: “Our main goal at Facebook is to help make the world more open and transparent.” That’s not unlike the Obama administration, whose online campaign was run by a former Facebook exec and which is making a point of posting almost everything relevant — like the recently passed federal stimulus package — online.
I suspect you can only see the principles and the statement if you are a member of Facebook, so I will briefly summarize here.
There are ten Principles:
1. Freedom to Share and Connect — as long as both parties consent
2. Ownership and Control of Information — Facebook believes that people should own and control their information, but admits that its “controls are not capable of limiting how those who have received information may use it, particularly outside of Facebook.” This goes back to what I said in a previous post: if privacy is ultra important to you, Facebook probably isn’t the service for you. If you want to “live out loud,” so to speak, updating your status every ten minutes so that everyone knows when you are waking up, eating lunch, and hitting the hay, come on board.
3. Free Flow of Information — and access to practical, easy tools to navigate that information
4. Fundamental Equality — we all have equal rights on Facebook. It’s a classless society. Or trying to be, at least.
5. Social Value — the network and your place in it is built on trust and reputation
6. Open Platforms and Standards — this is more on the technical side of things
7. Fundamental Service — Facebook should be free! Hooray!
8. Common Welfare — this is the link to the Statement of Rights and Responsibilities, coming up next
9. Transparent Process — this is what Facebook is trying to do right now, especially after people felt duped with the last draft of the Terms of Service
10. One World — One Love, let’s get together and feel all right.
OK, now for the Statement of Rights and Responsibilities, which were summarized by this group’s administrators:
1. “Forever won’t work: Facebook’s use of our content has to have clear limits.”
2. “Opt-in only: Facebook can’t just change the terms whenever they want.”
3. “Write it in English: No legalese (or Latin!) please.”
Meanwhile, other controversial changes that the site has made in the past several months – particularly the change of the user interface – WILL NOT be up for notice, comment or voting, although all parts of the site will be governed by the new policies. I know a lot of people who didn’t like the user interface change, but I have to agree with Zuckerberg: you can’t please all the people all the time – particularly 175 million of them – so sometimes you just have to make a change and say this is the way it is and leave it at that. Otherwise you’ll be spinning in circles trying to please all the complainers, and that’s really no way to live, love or conduct a business.