Facebook has responded to the recent backlash over the attempted change to its Terms of Service by opening its upcoming Facebook Principles and Statement of Rights and Responsibilities to user review, comment and vote. In a conference call, Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg further clarified that Facebook has no designs on owning user data.
announced on Feb. 26 that it was opening its upcoming Facebook Principles and
Statement of Rights and Responsibilities to user review, comment and vote.
"The Principles are the operational foundation, and how we
want to craft the rules moving forward, and that's the foundation for the
rights and responsibilities," Mark Zuckerberg, founder and CEO
of Facebook, said in a conference call. "We really took last week as a strong
signal of how much people care about Facebook."
Earlier this month, Facebook
changed its Terms of Service
to claim ownership over any content that subscribers uploaded to the site, even
after they closed their accounts. Facebook later retreated to the old version
of its Terms of Service after
enormous subscriber backlash.
"We do not own user data," Zuckerberg asserted during the
call. "We never really intended to give that impression, and we feel really bad
that we did."
According to the
company, opening the documents to user feedback and voting will make the site
more transparent and democratic. Virtual "town halls" will be held over the next
30 days during which users will be able to comment on the policies.
Users will be
able to join the Facebook Principles group at this site
and the Statement of Rights and Responsibilities group at this one
The comment period will close at 12:01 a.m. PST on March 29.
After the comment
period has ended, Facebook will review the submitted comments and republish the
Principles and Statement of Rights and Responsibilities with any incorporated
changes. Adding another level to it, Facebook will post a summary of the "most
common and signficant comments received, including its response to those comments
where appropriate," according to the company.
Following these "town halls," the Facebook Principles and Statement of Rights
and Responsibilities will be subject to a vote, open to all Facebook users active
as of Feb. 25. If more than 30 percent of all active registered users vote, the
results will become binding. Any future policy change will also be open to a
vote, the company stated, provided "the level of intensity of user interest
would justify it."
Facebook has lately opened itself
even further via the introduction of the Facebook Platform to developers. Late
last week, it
announced a Comments Box social messaging widget
, designed to
further integrate Facebook Connect, which allows users to sign onto other Web
sites using their Facebook information, into Web sites and blogs.