The trials and tribulations of the Facebook Terms of Service

You’ve seen it, heard it, read it and are probably sick and tired of it.

I do want to commend all of those who united to get Facebook to revert to its original terms of service. Not because they made a case for their right to privacy online but because they harnessed the power of social media and its ability to harness the power of the masses.

Now for those who missed the latests happenings: Sure, Kara Swisher has a way of telling things on All Things Digital, but I agree. We DO have zero privacy anyway and we need to get over it. At least, we have zero of the privacy in the way we used to thinking about privacy. The times, they are a’ changing. OPEN UP. To share. To collaborate. Good will come… not just advertisements. Peter Shankman also thinks you should open up, but asks with more passion… or less patience, you be the judge.

Speaking of collaboration and working together, I thought Facebook’s backtracking under community pressure was a wonderful example of how social media has helped make the public’s voice louder and heard. On Feb. 17, 2009,  Mashable conducted a poll and posted that 56 percent of Facebook users wanted the old ToS back. Less than two hours later, Mashable posted that Facebook had reverted to previous terms of service.

Nicely done.

And while all of this was going on, Lifehacker posted an educational list of 10 Privacy settings every Facebook user should know. This is a testament to the sort of demand-driven content that could only result from the way in which social media arranges issues, topics… things in a sort of hierarchical order – agenda-setting if you will – so that bloggers, journalists and all-around non-apathetic citizens can address them on behalf of the concerned public.

Ok, I’m done.

But Facebook won’t go unpunished on this post. They did fail to communicate quickly, transparently and well with users and THAT is not cool.

The All Things Digital crew is much better than I could ever hope to be at poking fun at Facebook and Mark Zuckerber. Don’t believe me? Here’s a comic and here is a fine, hilarious example of reading between the lines of a memo Zuckerberg should have really asked someone to proofread for him.


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