Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Face off ! Facebook gets its fan base miffed .. a bit

Facebook decides to change its terms of service. Fair enough. 
Some people get wind of it and start a protest group. Fair enough also. (Thanks Anne)

And that group grew from nothing to more than 36,000 protesters almost over night. Sounds like phenomenal growth, but compared to the 175 million accounts on FaceBook, this is actually very little. 

Or is it? Maybe size does not matter? What's really at stake here? 

Let's see... Granted, FaceBook needs to have the right to do things with (y)our/their content, otherwise there would be no sharing, no forwarding, no collaboration.  No fun, in other words. 
And I don't think most people really mind that social media platforms have the right to manipulate and distribute the content we all contribute so willingly. And I think we all know, once we put our content into the public domain, it's pretty much "out there" for anyone to look at, copy and distribute. Fair enough. 

Given the assumption, however, that most of the 175 million people on FaceBook have little or no clue about the risks to their privacy and intellectual property rights, the problem is about the need to create transparency.  

That's why I like the initiative and jumped right in when I found out about the protest group.
- This is not about protesting against FaceBook
- This is not about pointing out another flaw in the emerging world of Social Media.
- This is also not about whining, because FaceBook changed the terms of service.

It's about creating awareness. It's about a call to action to all Social Media platforms to follow 5 simple rules to keep us all on facebook, twitter, myspace, blogger or any other platform for that matter. 

- Be very clear up front about what you intend to do with the content we contribute
- Give us a way to opt out easily if we don't like to play according to your rules 
- Allow some discussion before you actually change your Terms of Service
- Notify your clients before you're making a change
- Keep educating your clients on these issues, we are all learning here.

These should be the common rules of courtesy we can all subscribe to, and they are no so different from what we all commit to when we borrow a book from the library. And it's also important for enterprise software companies who depend more and more to tie the worlds of collaborative innovation into their standard processes. 

So. Dear social media platforms. It is important we address these issues in a open and proactive format. We are your platform. And we are willing to help. You know how to reach us. 

User contibuted content, co-innovation in communities, and collaborative development of new products and services are a key engine to innovation.  In this economic climate let's not screw that up, please?


  1. Wow ... 109,000 members as of Feb ... but the Zuckerberg counter initiative is also growing

  2. http://blog.wired.com/business/2009/02/facebook-flap.html

    Let's Learn From Facebook's Terms-of-Service Flap
    By Ryan Singel February 18, 2009

  3. Interesting how Facebook helped create this confrontation by functioning in a web 1.0 form...which unfortunately (for them) does not work in a web 2.0 world.

  4. Hey really I read love your blog… I am really thanks to you to share this informations in internet to my kind of persons… really I loved loved your blog…. I will come back to your blog every updates…