Facebook offers up privacy policy for user review

After earlier brouhaha over changes to terms-of-use policy, site now seeks user input

Looking to avoid the tumultuous user haggles that followed earlier changes to the Facebook terms of service, the company today released a proposed new privacy policy to user review.

The social networking giant tried to make a privacy document, which in most cases is filled with complex legal jargon, easy for users to understand, said Elliot Schrage, vice president of Facebook's global communications and public affairs.

"Our primary goals remain transparency and readability, which is why we've used plain language and included numerous examples to help illustrate our points," wrote Schrage in a blog post. "This is the next step in our ongoing effort to run Facebook in an open and transparent way."

Schrage noted that Facebook is soliciting user comments on the policy. If the plan goes the way of past Facebook user reviews, the company should be gearing up to handle an onslaught of responses.

Earlier this year, irate users hammered Facebook for changing its terms-of-use policy. The users argued that the new terms-of-use documents gave the company vast control over their content. After months of back and forth with angry users, Facebook agreed to let them vote on site governance issues.

"In April, we launched a new system of governance for the Facebook site and became the first company to our knowledge that invites users to both comment and vote on proposed changes to its governing policies," Schrage said. "We now are doing the same with our privacy policy."

While Schrage said users could review and comment on the privacy policy, he did not say if a user vote would decide the issue.

In the comments section attached to Schrage's blog, many users ignored the privacy policy to renew their criticisms about Facebook's site makeover that went live late last week. The company has been hearing from many users venting their frustrations with the unexpected changes.

Copyright © 2009 IDG Communications, Inc.

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