Facebook to let users vote on policy

27 Feb Facebook to let users vote on policy

San Francisco Chronicle, By Deborah Gage, February 27, 2009

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg on Thursday posted Facebook’s first stab at new policies governing how it handles members’ information. The social networking site based in Palo Alto caused an uproar earlier this month after it quietly changed its terms of service and was taken to task for it on the Consumerist blog. As Zuckerberg promised, users will be allowed to vote on the new policies, which include 10 principles “to make the world more open and transparent” and a six-page statement of rights and responsibilities that Zuckerberg said had been boiled down from 40 pages of legalese. Facebook will hold virtual town hall meetings and will collect comments on the documents until March 29. Then final documents will be posted for a vote. That vote will be binding if more than 30 percent of active users – meaning people who’ve been active on Facebook since Feb. 25 – participate. Facebook defused some criticism and earned kudos from a couple of privacy groups for its efforts – the Future of Privacy Forum and Business for Social Responsibility both supplied statements of support, although Zuckerberg warned that users aren’t going to get a voice in everything Facebook does. “Facebook is still in the business of introducing new and therefore potentially disruptive technologies,” he wrote. “We need to continue to make independent decisions about products in order to push technology forward. While these products must be consistent with the principles and in compliance with the statement of rights and responsibilities, they will not be subject to the notice and comment or voting requirement.”