Facebook Faces Privacy Fears
(Well, actually, another significant factor in the column's genesis was my editor asking me to set aside the piece I'd been working on to write about Facebook instead.)
One of those things was blogger Amanda French's insightful comparison of Facebook's new user agreement with those of six other popular media-sharing and social-networking sites.
The other was the "People Against the new Terms of Service" group set up by Facebook users to protest the changes. The discussions and comments there featured no small amount of yammering, but also some reasoned, thoughtful discussion -- see, for instance, the back-and-forth about how to craft a one-line counter-claim to the new terms that Facebook users could add to their own profiles.
As I was considering how non-lawyers might be able to untangle Facebook's licensing thicket on their own, another thought hit me -- Facebook and any other company with a sufficiently high profile will get hit with frivolous, dingbat lawsuits no matter how airtight its terms of service seem. So it might as well write those terms in language that normal human beings can grasp.
That's what I hope Facebook's new "Bill of Rights and Responsibilities" group can accomplish. I suggest one way for the company to move towards that goal in today's article. It's unclear if Facebook will follow that approach, but at least it's inviting some of its toughest critics to help rewrite its terms -- two of the admins of this new group led the "People Against the new Terms of Service" group.
What's your take on Facebook's response so far? Do you think the company is making a genuine effort to get your input, or do you feel that it's just trying to paper over this controversy? Post your thoughts in the comments -- then stop by Web chat today, starting at 2 p.m.
Posted by: JkR- | February 19, 2009 12:35 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: RHMathis | February 19, 2009 7:32 PM | Report abuse
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