Facebook is Off the Hook

But not in the Michael Steele sense. Rather, in the sense of Facebook doing something surprisingly good. Specifically, Facebook has decided to make their Terms of Use into a collaborative effort. The proposed drafts are here and here. The drafts look generally unremarkable to me so far (except for Rights and Responsibilities 10.3: “You understand that we may not always identify paid services and communications as such”), but the important part is the very public nature of the documents.

I’ve been concerned about the conflict for Facebook between the privacy rights of its users and the desire of advertisers for those users’ data, but merely by publicizing the conflict, Facebook has automatically come down on the side of the users. Scary privacy violations almost always have to be implemented sneakily because they can’t stand up to public scrutiny, so embracing public scrutiny is itself a privacy decision. A good decision.

 

Copyright xkcd.com

Copyright xkcd.com

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