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Consumers to contribute in policy decisions: Facebook

Palo Alto, California, March 1: Facebook is taking every measure to restore the trust and confidence of its consumers in its policies. In a fresh effort, it has decided to let the consumers be a part of the policy-making decisions.

Consumers to contribute in policy decisions: Facebook
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Facebook has decided that users will be part of the process of policy-making by reviewing, commenting and voting on them before they are put in place.

A proposed change will go to a vote if more than 7,000 users comment on that change. If more than 30 percent active users vote on a change, it would be binding to Facebook to follow that. Facebook currently has a worldwide user base of over 175 million.

From now on, the social networking site will be guided by a set of principles that reflect its dedication to transparency and openness in communication, said Facebook in a statement.

The decision to let the consumers comment on the new policies before implementing them comes after a mass unrest that followed a change in terms of service earlier this month. These changes had to be revoked after a lot of criticism.

One of the changes that were revoked soon after implementation said that whatever contents a user posts on the Facebook, it becomes the property of the site, and even if the user deletes his account, the Facebook can retain the data in their archives and hold the right to use, copy, publish, stream, store, retain and create derivative works out of that data.

Also, it said that the Facebook reserve the right, at their sole discretion, to change or delete portions of these terms at any time without further notice. These changes severely hampered the affable relation Facebook shared with its users.

Facebook has since been trying to get that trust back, and the latest decision to involve the consumers in making policy decisions is surely a step ahead in this direction. Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg assured the users that their information will not be misused under any circumstances, and they have complete right over their information.

"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," he said.

The efforts being made by Facebook in making its policies transparent are being applauded by the users and by the internet experts.

"No other company has made such a bold move towards transparency and democratization," said Simon Davies, Director, Privacy International. "The devil will be in the detail but, overall, we applaud these positive steps and think they foreshadow the future of web 2.0.

“We hope Facebook will realize these extraordinary commitments through concrete action and we challenge the rest of the industry to exceed them."