For almost a year now, Facebook has been engaging in an open and transparent system of governance. They now post all proposed changes to their governing documents before they go into effect to give us, the people who use Facebook, the chance to give our feedback on these proposals and listen to our input.
Most online services and networks occasionally have to change their governing documents to accommodate for new products or services, they just may not tell you about those changes. Facebook however, is probably the only online service that actually engages its user and listens to their feedback..
Here are some of the biggest changes they are contemplating putting into effect:
In place of the old verbiage they’ve added the concept of a “place” that could refer to a Page, such as one for a local restaurant. This is all we can learn for right now, however more details are to come, including new privacy controls.
Sharing and Connections
Facebook is pretty much for two things: Connecting with people, places, and things that are important to you, and sharing information that you post with your friends and other users. When you connect with a person through adding them as a friend, or with something through being a member of a group or a fan of a Page, that’s called a two-way public connection. You, the user, can control how the connection is presented on your profile, but it might be discovered in other ways, such as by going to another friend’s profile or being displayed on a group’s list of members.
When you post a link or a photo to your profile, however, that’s a one-way action. You have complete control over who can access that content through your privacy settings. You can block certain people or members from viewing certain information.
This is exactly how Facebook currently works, however they’ve added additional verbiage to make this even clearer to us.
Applications and Third-Party Websites
As Facebook continues to expand its platform, they are trying to give us more ways to connect and share information with our friends, not just on Facebook but all across the web.
Currently, when you use applications such as games on Facebook or connect to Facebook from sites across the web, you are able to find and interact with your friends. Some of these applications require some basic information about you in order to provide a more relevant experience. After listening and considering feedback users, they announced in August that we were trying to deliver more control and transparency to user, the user.
Facebook has also made a number of smaller changes to further explain in detail how the different aspects of Facebook work. For example, why invitations that non-users receive to join Facebook sometimes include the names of other people besides the person who sent the invitation. This is because those people have imported their own contact lists to Facebook, and those contact lists include the invited person’s email address.
They’ve also explained the “Everyone” setting in more detail. Users still own any information they post to Facebook, however the “Everyone” setting is designed to enable people to share content as broadly as possible, as opposed to just “Friends” or “Friends of Friends” To enable this setting, they allow others to see, access, display, export, distribute and redistribute content set to “Everyone”. All they’ve tried to do here is make this even clearer.
Lastly, they explain how users can sync their contact lists, such as on a mobile or hand held device, with information they have access to on Facebook.
For a full list of the changes in further detail, visit their Facebook Site Governance Fan Page and read more. They want our feedback!