Facebook and democracy

It’s a sign of  how quickly things move in the field of social media, that I was half way though composing a post about content licensing and the recent furore over Facebook’s changes to their terms of service, when what should pop into my feed reader, but another bombshell from Mark Zuckerberg and co. Only this time, they seem to have got it right, or at least they intend to.

This post on the Facebook blog outlines what they intend to do. Essentially, they plan to take a more democratic approach, giving members the opportunity to comment and vote on changes to the way the site is managed. They’ve made a start by inviting comment and discussion on two documents that would become the foundation of the new way of working; the Facebook Principles and the Statement of Rights and Responsibilities.

Of course, only time will tell how well this new approach works, and that will depend both on Facebook’s commitment to these principles, and the user’s willingness to engage with them in this way.

You might be cynical and say, “hey, isn’t this just another big company screwing up and now desperately back pedaling?”, but for me, this is what web 2.0 is all about. Things change rapidly and as a result companies like Facebook sometimes get it wrong, but I can forgive them this as long as they keep listening, learning and changing. Better that than the over cautious, focus group obsessed approach of 20th century business.

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