In nod to users, Facebook opens vote on terms of service

After outraged users slammed the social networking site, Facebook gives them the vote

About two months after outraged users hammered Facebook Inc. for taking too much control over their content, the social networking site is now giving users a chance to vote over site governance issues.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said in a blog post yesterday that users can vote to choose one of two Terms of Service options - the current terms of use rules and a new set of rules called the Facebook Principles and Statement of Rights and Responsibilities. The new set of rights and responsibilities went through a 30-day user comment period, while the original terms of use were created and implemented without input.

Facebook is giving users the vote after irate users slammed the company for changing its terms-of-use policy to seemingly enable Facebook to maintain broad control and archive data that users had deleted. Under the previous terms of use, Facebook was not granted any rights to deleted material.

After users rose up and complained about the new terms of service en masse, that the site was returning to its previous terms of service plan. About a week later, Facebook announced that it would be seeking user comment on two new documents - Facebook Principles and its Statement of Rights and Responsibilities.

"We encourage you to participate and make your voice heard," wrote Zuckerberg. "For this vote and any future one, the results will be binding if at least 30% of active Facebook users at the time that the vote was announced participate."

Since Facebook announced just last week that it had snagged its 200 millionth user, that means 60 million people will need to vote to make the results binding.

"I think these new terms on data ownership and usage will go a long way toward assuaging the feelings of those who protested earlier," said Dan Olds, principle analyst with the Gabriel Consulting Group. "Facebook is at least nodding to user concerns by allowing voting, but the requirement that 30% of active users need to weigh in in order for the vote to be binding is a bit onerous. I'd be surprised if they get anywhere close to that number of responses."

Olds also noted that users might be happier with the new documents, which cut out some of the technical jargon and back off on content ownership issues.

"Facebook's new terms and conditions are much more readable than the typical legalese in the last version," he added. "It clearly outlines Facebook's terms of service in a way that should be understandable to the majority of users. The terms are also more user friendly. A few weeks ago, users choked at the idea that Facebook owned all of their content until the end of time. The new, and much more reasonable, policy is that Facebook can use the data until the account is closed or the data deleted by the user."

People can vote until 11:59 a.m. USPDT on April 23. The results will be tallied by an independent auditor, according to Facebook.

Tags Web 2.0social networkingFacebook

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Sharon Gaudin

Computerworld

Comments

Comments are now closed.

Most Popular Reviews

Follow Us

Best Deals on GoodGearGuide

Shopping.com

Latest News Articles

Resources

GGG Evaluation Team

Kathy Cassidy

STYLISTIC Q702

First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.

Anthony Grifoni

STYLISTIC Q572

For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.

Steph Mundell

LIFEBOOK UH574

The Fujitsu LifeBook UH574 allowed for great mobility without being obnoxiously heavy or clunky. Its twelve hours of battery life did not disappoint.

Andrew Mitsi

STYLISTIC Q702

The screen was particularly good. It is bright and visible from most angles, however heat is an issue, particularly around the Windows button on the front, and on the back where the battery housing is located.

Simon Harriott

STYLISTIC Q702

My first impression after unboxing the Q702 is that it is a nice looking unit. Styling is somewhat minimalist but very effective. The tablet part, once detached, has a nice weight, and no buttons or switches are located in awkward or intrusive positions.

Latest Jobs

Shopping.com

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?