[LINK] Facebook 'Vote' on Terms of Use

Roger Clarke Roger.Clarke at xamax.com.au
Wed Apr 8 08:10:06 AEST 2009

[Has anyone looked into this?


Statement of Rights and Responsibilities:
Well, it seems to have disappeared, but *was* linked to from here:

[Can anyone point to a copy anywhere?

[Quick reactions to the process at the end]

Facebook calls for vote on new terms of use
by Juan Carlos Perez, IDG News Service

Facebook members will get a chance to vote for or against the 
company's revised governance documents later this month.

The voting will be held between April 16 and April 23 via a Facebook 
application developed by Wildfire, while Ernst & Young will audit the 
results, Facebook announced on its official blog.

Facebook gave its 175 million-plus members 30 days to submit feedback 
regarding the governing concepts and policies the popular 
social-networking site plans to draft and adopt. That feedback period 
ended on March 29 and Facebook received comments from fewer than 
4,000 members.

Facebook engaged in this process after a change to its terms of use 
in February ignited a fierce controversy over concerns the company 
was claiming perpetual ownership of all content ever loaded to the 

In response to the outcry, CEO Mark Zuckerberg rolled back the 
changes but announced that Facebook wanted to do away with its terms 
of use statement altogether and draft from scratch new documents for 
its governance that are simpler and clearer, taking into account 
members' feedback.

To that end, Facebook created two "town hall" sections on its site on 
Feb. 26 for members to leave ideas and opinions regarding, 
respectively, the site's principles-its philosophy and values-and the 
site's rights and responsibilities towards its users.

Facebook lawyers, with the help of law students, have been reading 
the 3,000-plus comments, and the administrators of the original 
protest group against the terms of use changes are consolidating the 
feedback in a list of "key concerns," according to Facebook. The 
company has also sought input from privacy, copyright, and Internet 
legal experts.

"The 30-day comment period for submitting feedback on Facebook's 
proposed governance documents has ended, but the opportunities to 
help shape the policies that will govern Facebook have only begun," 
wrote Simon Axten, an associate on the Public Policy team, on Friday.

On April 16, the company will post the revised versions of its 
Facebook Principles and the Statement of Rights and Responsibilities 
(SRR), along with a response to members' main concerns. Voting will 
begin that day.

"We encourage you to participate in this vote on our new revised 
documents. If it is approved, all future changes to the Statement of 
Rights and Responsibilities will go through the same process of 
notice and comment," Axten wrote.

Facebook will hold a vote on any proposed change if at least 7,000 
members submit comments. The results of the vote will be "advisory" 
if less than 30 percent of Facebook active users participate in the 
process. If 30 percent or more of active members vote, the results of 
the vote will be binding, according to Axten.

"Your continued involvement in this process is crucial, and we want 
to thank everyone who has participated so far. We look forward to 
taking the next step towards a more democratic system of online 
governance," Axten wrote.

[It's neatly designed to prevent calm analysis from having much impact:
1.  the time allowed is short
2.  the threshholds before they'll think about change are high
3.  it therefore takes full advantage of human apathy and ignorance

[But it's valuable that there's at least some transparency.

Roger Clarke                                 http://www.rogerclarke.com/
Xamax Consultancy Pty Ltd      78 Sidaway St, Chapman ACT 2611 AUSTRALIA
                    Tel: +61 2 6288 1472, and 6288 6916
mailto:Roger.Clarke at xamax.com.au                http://www.xamax.com.au/

Visiting Professor in Info Science & Eng  Australian National University
Visiting Professor in the eCommerce Program      University of Hong Kong
Visiting Professor in the Cyberspace Law & Policy Centre      Uni of NSW

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