Facebook Seeks Users' Approval On T&Cs

Facebook stuck to its promise to make the social networking website governance more transparent and democratic by allowing users to vote on whether they want to use the existing terms of service or not.

Voting started on the 16th of April and will end on the 23rd; Facebook users will need to log in in order to cast their votes and are strongly encouraged to read the proposed documents and the existing terms of use as well as the comments that it generated during the 30-day comment period.

The new guidelines, called Facebook Principals and Statement of Rights and Responsibilities (SSR), were created using Wikipedia-like crowdsourcing techniques. Facebook's founder, Mark Zuckerberg commented on the voting process saying that "We encourage you to participate and make your voice heard."

Nearly 50,000 people have voted and 73 percent of the Facebook users chose to vote for the proposed documents rather than the existing one, which shows that the fury generated in February due to the change in Facebook's terms of use could have been caused by a minority.

Several millions of Facebook users are expected to vote on the changes, but it is unlikely more than 5 percent of Facebook's estimated 200 million registered active users the social network has worldwide.

The result will only be binding if more than 30 percent of active Facebook users participate in it, but it is highly unlikely that more than 60 million users will take part in it.

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Our Comments

Even if Facebook manages only 10 million votes, it will be a proof that social networking websites can work as democratic platform. Facebook has been wise to call upon its users to vote on this small but significant change. If the current trend is confirmed, it is very likely that Facebook will choose to go for the new terms and conclusions, which they had put forward anyway, only this time, it's the user's choice.

Related Links

Facebook Site Governance Vote

http://apps.facebook.com/fbsitevote/contests/208

Face-Off: Voting Starts On Facebook's Terms Of Service

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/04/16/AR2009041603639.html

Facebook users urged to vote

http://www.pocket-lint.com/news/news.phtml/23598/facebook-opens-vote-site-governance.phtml

Voting begins on Facebook Ts & Cs

http://www.pcpro.co.uk/news/251411/voting-begins-on-facebook-ts--cs.html

Facebook puts terms of service up for a vote

http://blogs.ft.com/techblog/2009/04/facebook-puts-terms-of-service-up-for-a-vote/

Democracy, Facebook-style

http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/blogs/techchron/detail?blogid=19&entry_id=38652

Facebook users given choice

http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/29145792-2ae7-11de-8415-00144feabdc0.html

Facebook opens up vote on new terms of service

http://news.cnet.com/8301-1023_3-10221676-93.html

Facebook opens polls for TOS rewrite

http://blogs.zdnet.com/BTL/?p=16535

Let the Facebook Voting Begin

http://www.appscout.com/2009/04/let_the_facebook_voting_begin.php