Facebook Differs with Social Network Bill of Rights

Amid growing controversy over privacy breaches and new marketing initiatives from Facebook and others, the annual Computers, Freedom, and Privacy conference has drawn up a 14-point "Bill of Rights" for social network users which was published on Tuesday. The Bill of Rights says a lot about how bad the situation has become: It's kind of pathetic that CFP should even have to include "allow me to delete my account," for example.

Even more revealing is the fact that Facebook said in a statement that "we don't agree with all of the proposed elements of the Bill of Rights for social-network users." Reading over the following list, I am at a loss to guess which provisions Facebook takes issue with. However, maybe I'm too quick to judgment -- and I'd be interested to hear what readers think about these.

User Bill of Rights

1. Honesty: Honor your privacy policy and terms of service.

2. Clarity: Make sure that policies, terms of service, and settings are easy to find and understand.

3. Freedom of speech: Do not delete or modify my data without a clear policy and justification.

4. Empowerment: Support assistive technologies and universal accessibility.

5. Self-protection: Support privacy-enhancing technologies.

6. Data minimization: Minimize the information I am required to provide and share with others.

7. Control: Let me control my data, and don't facilitate sharing it unless I agree first.

8. Predictability: Obtain my prior consent before significantly changing who can see my data.

9. Data portability: Make it easy for me to obtain a copy of my data.

10. Protection: Treat my data as securely as your own confidential data unless I choose to share it, and notify me if it is compromised.

11. Right to know: Show me how you are using my data and allow me to see who and what has access to it.

12. Right to self-define: Let me create more than one identity and use pseudonyms. Do not link them without my permission.

13. Right to appeal: Allow me to appeal punitive actions.

14. Right to withdraw: Allow me to delete my account, and remove my data.

5 comments about "Facebook Differs with Social Network Bill of Rights".
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  1. Haley Dillon from Targetbase, June 24, 2010 at 3:56 p.m.

    I would guess Facebook doesn't want to comply with 7, 8 and 11, given their past behavior.

  2. Steven Parker from Parker Communications, June 24, 2010 at 4:20 p.m.

    Someone did a great job drafting these. This is the most concise and clearly stated set of a consumer type "bill of rights" I've ever seen.

    The rights are so reasonable and rational that it's not out of the question to think that Congress might consider making this federal law, which could be enforced by either the FCC or FTC.

    Any social network that refuses to abide by this really doesn't deserve to be in business.

  3. Clinton Gallagher, June 24, 2010 at 5:34 p.m.

    I hate having to rely on yet more "big government" intrusion but quite frankly I have to agree, regulations need to be adopted --but-- before they are applied to --only-- "social" websites the regulations should start with the dirty business of website hosting and compel host providers to operate more transparently.

  4. George Eberstadt from TurnTo, June 25, 2010 at 4:57 p.m.

    A great list. I disagree with #12, tho. Different communities can have different norms, which lead to different participant behaviors. Why shouldn't a community insist that its members use their "real" identities? People that don't like that norm don't have to participate. The rest are likely to find a more civil, responsible environment than found in communities that allow anonymous participation. I imagine CFP thought about that -- anyone know why they came out this way?

  5. George Eberstadt from TurnTo, June 25, 2010 at 5:03 p.m.

    Expanding on that last comment: seems like there's a difference between the rules that govern the relationship between the community manager and its members vs the rules that govern interactions between members. e.g. Rules that relate how data submitted by users will be shared with advertisers feel like they belong in a different bucket from rules like use of pseudonyms.

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