March 23, 2012, 5:48 PM — Facebook introduced a newly revised Statement of Rights and Responsibilities (SRR) and offered it up the public last week for feedback. Though the official comment period is now over, I’d like to add my 2 cents. And while 95 percent of the proposed edits to Facebook’s governing document were simple language changes, there are a few bits I find troubling.
Some people are interpreting this as some kind of attack on privacy. I think that language change actually a good thing. The word “privacy” means too many things to too many people, which is one reason why it’s so hard to get folks to support privacy initiatives. Data Use is a much better description, because that’s what Facebook is doing – using your data. It’s certainly not protecting your privacy.
A few bits of new language jump out from this SRR that are worth noting.
1. Under section 5 (“Protecting Other People’s Rights”) the new SRR adds this (new language in italics):
You will not tag users or send email invitations to non-users without their consent or tag users if you know they do not wish to be tagged.
This is a good and worthy idea. A better and worthier idea, though, would be to give users the ability to simply tick a box that says “Don’t tag me – ever.” For reasons that escape rational understanding, Facebook refuses to do this. Instead, Facebook continues to insist that users have total control over who and how they can be tagged, when this is not the case.
Here’s what Facebook spokeshuman Barry Schnitt told CNET:
"If you don't want someone to be able to tag you, simply block them," Schnitt responded. "If you're tagged by someone else and want to remove it, we make that easy. We also created an easy way to complain directly to the user about a photo you don't like."