Facebook Opens Site Rules To User Voting

The Facebook Principles and "Statement of Rights and Responsibilities" may signal a shift in social networking best practices.
Facebook said it will accept user comments on its Principles and Statement of Rights and Responsibilities through two Facebook groups. It also plans to hold virtual Town Hall meetings to discuss the documents for 30 days, through March 29.

Following the Town Hall meetings, Facebook users will be able to vote on the documents. The company said that the vote will be open to Facebook users active as of Feb, 25, 2009, that the vote would be made public, and that the vote will be binding, provided 30% of all active registered users vote.

"We're at an interesting point in the development of the open online world where these issues are being worked out," explained Zuckerberg in a blog post. "It's difficult terrain to navigate and we're going to make some missteps, but as the leading service for sharing information we take these issues and our responsibility to help resolve them very seriously."

It will be a grand experiment in Internet democracy. But not everyone is convinced it's realistic. On the conference call, Gartner analyst Ray Valdes expressed skepticism that the new plain language in the documents governing user rights and responsibilities can meet Facebook's legal needs. Schrage brushed off his concerns, but Facebook does acknowledge that its Principles have limits.

"Achieving these Principles should be constrained only by limitations of law, technology, and evolving social norms about sharing," the company states.

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