Our main goal at Facebook is to help make the world more open and transparent. We believe that if we want to lead the world in this direction, then we must set an example by running our service in this way.
Facebook’s proposed new governance framework will introduce not only an improved set of terms in the form of Facebook’s Statement of Rights and Responsibilities but it also introduces an interpretive aid when the Statement itself is vague or apparently out of touch with Facebook’s declared intentions. By establishing the Facebook Principles as “the foundation for how we define the rights and responsibilities of Facebook and its community”, we begin to see a governance framework that is analogous to a constitution that guides the interpretation and development of a body of laws that govern a nation.
So where this left me was with a sense that Facebook isn’t quite as evil as I believed it to be (at least the people behind the scenes are working to be more open and transparent). There is still room for improvement in how Facebook operates and what its governance structure enables. We are yet to see its current terms replaced with a version of the proposed framework (the two groups closed for comments on 29 March and the Facebook team is reviewing the comments posted with a view to coming up with a modified set which takes users’ feedback into account. I do believe that we will see an improved governance framework soon enough and that is good news for individual and business users alike.
As for me, I have been using Facebook a lot more lately and I believe that my Facebook page can serve as a great way for Facebook users and fans of what I do and write about to engage with me and with each other about these and other issues in addition to the opportunities my site offers for interaction. Hopefully Facebook has learned its lessons and is on the better path. It has made its mistakes in the past and we will probably see a few more but my hope is that it responds quickly and decisively to users’ feedback and creates a more open and transparent platform for all its users.
On April 16, we’ll be posting revised versions of the documents based on the feedback we’ve received. We’ll also be sharing a written response to the main concerns people have expressed. This will explain in clear language why we did — or did not — make certain changes. This is similar to how U.S. federal agencies create regulations.
At the same time, we’ll be asking people to vote on the new revised documents. Voting will begin on April 16 and end on April 23. It will be done through an application developed on Facebook Platform by Wildfire, and the vote tabulation will be audited by Ernst & Young to ensure that the results are accurate.