We the users of Facebook and Twitter do ordain…

This is a news article heading in the San Jose Mercury Newspaper on June 19, 2010.

A group of privacy advocates, computer scientist, lawyers and others got together the day before to create a “Bill of Rights” for the “social Web” and for social-network users. 

Since Facebook and Twitter are becoming so huge, they could be thought of as representing a nation.  Facebook has somewhere around 400 million users…more than the population of the US.  Twitter has around 75 million.

Users are beginning to feel vulnerable and like they are losing control of their personal information.

And data mining by companies that specialize in people searches are making information readily available that creates risks for people’s safety, especially for people who have been victims of past violence and who are trying to hide from angry past spouses or stalkers.

And of course, a big concern of privacy advocates is the ease of advertisers accessing information and using it without the private citizen’s consent.

So the privacy group has come up with a list of 14 guiding principles.  You can check out the principles at www.facebook.com/CFPBillOfRights and you can vote to support or oppose it.  The list is short and will only take about a minute to read.  There is not much detail in it at this time, but it’s a start.

What you are seeing here is the beginning formation of policy for a system and technology that is having, and will continue to have, a huge influence on our lives into the future.  The time to start having input into how it is used should be sooner not later.

So take a look at the principles and cast your vote. If you approve of the principles, click on the “Like” button at the top of the page.  If you don’t, click on the special link Facebook has provided in the second paragraph on the page.

And, of course, let me know what you think of this whole issue.  Do you think it’s on the right track…does it say enough or does it ask for too much?  Do you think there should be a Bill of Rights for the social Web? Do you see this as having a negative impact on you as an advertiser?  If so, do the rights of the advertiser outweigh the rights of the individual?

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2 Responses to “We the users of Facebook and Twitter do ordain…”

  1. I agree with the fact that these large social media organizations should be protecting our privacy. However, it is our responsibility to limit our own exposure by only providing information that we are willing to share.


    Ken Varga Reply:

    Hi Katalin, you are right. We need to limit what we don’t want exposed. On the other hand, some of the social media sites seem to be taking the road of “it’s better to ask for forgiveness rather than ask for permission”. That’s where a “Bill of Rights” might come in handy.


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