Facebook: Governing the Facebook Service in an Open and Transparent Way

Facebook: Governing the Facebook Service in an Open and Transparent Way

by Mark Zuckerberg Today at 7:20pm

Last week, we returned to our previous Terms of Use as we worked on a new set of governing documents that would more clearly explain the relationship between Facebook and its users. Since then, I’ve been excited to see how much people care about Facebook and how willing they are to contribute to the process of governing the site.

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.

We sat down to work on documents that could be the foundation of this and we came to an interesting realization—that the conventional business practices around a Terms of Use document are just too restrictive to achieve these goals. We decided we needed to do things differently and so we’re going to develop new policies that will govern our system from the ground up in an open and transparent way.

Beginning today, we are giving you a greater opportunity to voice your opinion over how Facebook is governed. We’re starting this off by publishing two new documents for your review and comment. The first is the Facebook Principles, which defines your rights and will serve as the guiding framework behind any policy we’ll consider—or the reason we won’t consider others. The second document is the Statement of Rights and Responsibilities, which will replace the existing Terms of Use. With both documents, we tried hard to simplify the language so you have a clear understanding of how Facebook will be run. We’ve created separate groups for each document so you can read them and provide comments and feedback. You can find the Facebook Principles here and the Statement of Rights and Responsibilities here. Before these new proposals go into effect, you’ll also have the ability to vote for or against proposed changes.

I believe these steps are unprecedented in promoting understanding and enabling participation on the web. I hope you will take a look at these documents, read them carefully, and share your thoughts.

Facebook is still in the business of introducing new and therefore potentially disruptive technologies. This can mean that our users periodically experience adjustments to new products as they become familiar with them, and before becoming enthusiastic supporters. The launch of News Feed and the recent interface redesign are excellent examples that illustrate why we need to continue to make independent decisions about products in order to push technology forward. While these products must be consistent with the Principles and in compliance with the Statement of Rights and Responsibilities, they will not be subject to the notice and comment or voting requirement.

We’re honored that so many millions of people around the world have decided to bring Facebook into their lives to share information and experiences with friends and loved ones. We understand that gives us an important responsibility to our users.

History tells us that systems are most fairly governed when there is an open and transparent dialogue between the people who make decisions and those who are affected by them. We believe history will one day show that this principle holds true for companies as well, and we’re looking to moving in this direction with you.

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