The Dodge Retort

Tech, media and other interesting stuff

Facebook User Rights: Some Clarity

Posted by jdodge349 on February 27, 2009

I don’t know about you, but I do not lay awake nights thinking about Facebook’s Terms of Use. I applaud their efforts announced yesterday to democratize the formulation of users rights, but  Facebook Terms of Use do not make my list of top 50 concerns not that I’ve ever done one. Let’s just say it is not top of mind.

I follow one simple rule: don’t put anything up there you don’t want the public to see. I put a lot on Facebook given I am journalist, i.e. one who makes living by communicating and explaining things to people. So I’m pretty thicked-skinned to  negative feedback or an occasional threat.  Comes with the territory as they say.

But let’s face it: we’re human so someone putting up that picture of you drunk or smoking weed is not only possible, but probable if you’re under 30. Right, Mark Phelps? In those cases, you just work hard to remove the incriminating evidence. One with college age kids knows this well.

The principles are a good thing, indeed, and the voting is a stroke of marketing genius. Facebook engenders loyalty by allowing every registered user to vote on principles and proposed Statement of Responsibilities.  It will also indicate how many other than the biggest Facebook privacy zealots really care about this. After all, there’s 180 million Facebook users. What if only 100,000 vote? Then Facebook will have the freedom to exert more control.

BTW, voting was opened Feb. 25, but I cannot find where you can do that. From the way it read, it sounded like they might have meant March 25 after all the feedback is in.

I’ve read through the principles and they are well-thought out with minimal legalese. In fact, there many more rules for application developers and advertisers than Joe Sixpack user. For users, Facebook gives up its license to your content when you delete your acccount (who, BTW, deletes their Facebook account these days?). They stress “transparency and democratization” of the process of policy formulation. They are being a lot nicer and more considerate than they have to be, but in the process are buying a substantial amount of good will.

And as I said, even as a very active Facebook user, I do not lay awake nights thinking about the issue.  Maybe I should glad others do.


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