Most of us will by now have seen the email sent to all Facebook user talking about the Updates to their Data Use Policy and their Statement of Rights and Responsibilities (SRR). The email also seemed to be asking for our feedback but, with the same token talked about their decision to revoke their previous democratic arrangement whereby, if 30% of users disagreed with something, then it would not happen.
Basically what it seems to say is that you can give feedback this time but these will not be requested for future Updates. Looking at the site governance Facebook page to which they sent us all, you do get an idea of why. Thousands of duplicate messages in various foreign languages where people have been asked to post a template comment in order to achieve the 30%. As Facebook says, the comments seem to be quantity over quality.
Democracy on Facebook – the Background
I started reading up on this and found some more information. According to Slate.com, in response to a user backlash over previous changes to its terms and conditions, in early 2009, Facebook pledged that every future proposed change to those governing documents would be the subject of a ‘user comment’ period. If 7000 users commented, then a site-wide vote would be triggered and if 30% of users had feelings one way or the other, the company would submit to their will. Of course, this only applied to their actual terms and conditions, not changes to actual features like those ridiculous couples pages we saw last week.
So, what to make of their paragraph encouraging us to review these proposed changes and give us feedback before we finalize them. Please visit the “Documents” tab of the Facebook Site Governance Page https://www.facebook.com/fbsitegovernance to learn more about these changes and to submit comments before 09 PST on 28 November 2012?
I definitely think it’s worth liking the page for the promised updates on this process and on any future changes to their Data Use Policy or SRR – although the cynic in me can’t help but smile wryly at their certainty that we will see such updates in our newsfeeds since they will have access to promoted posts in a way that many small businesses do not because they can encourage users to like them in such a way and achieve the 400 likes required to be able to use this function.
But, all this aside, what to make of the new rules?
Facebook’s New SRR and Personal Profiles
I think areas to watch out for personal profile users are:
Facebook Log ins – you can only have one log in and this must be for personal use only. Business pages need to be created and administered by a human personal profile. You cannot create a business personal profile. Also, don’t share your password with anyone else.
Intellectual Property Rights – don’t post up images for which you don’t have the copyright.
Use of Personal Data – be aware that if you do post information, Facebook can use it – even if you take it down yourself, if it has been shared by other people who then do not remove it, Facebook can use it.
Play nicely on Facebook – don’t post graphic violence or sex and be nice to other users. And be careful what you share – there is a possibility that some people pn Twitter may be sued for retweeting a libel based on the recent paedophile allegations over here in the UK. I think Facebook and other social media platforms are going to be the subject of some scrutiny.
Don’t market on Facebook – for people who have Business Pages, there are rules about not using Facebook’s functionality to promote your own business – unless you’re paying them to do so.
So, there you have it!
If you have any questions on how Facebook’s terms and conditions could affect your use of Facebook, leave them in the comments section below this post and we’ll try to answer as many as we can
Tags: Facebook democracy