Want CNET to notify you of price drops and the latest stories?

Facebook open-sources its terms of service

Facebook is opening up the process for its terms of service to public discussion.

Matt Asay Contributing Writer
Matt Asay is a veteran technology columnist who has written for CNET, ReadWrite, and other tech media. Asay has also held a variety of executive roles with leading mobile and big data software companies.
Matt Asay

Given the ungainly hand that has held the rudder of Facebook's privacy policies--most recently with its alleged landgrab on user data--it's welcome to now see Facebook letting its users have considerable say in how the company handles their privacy.

In a bold move, Facebook has "open sourced" its terms of service to allow users to help define them for the social-networking service.

Facebook has proposed a new set of Facebook Principles, as well as a Statement of Rights and Responsibilities, and is inviting users to comment upon them and thereby help to shape them.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg called the move "fairly unprecedented," and he's right. It's also a welcome departure from the company's ill-fated attempts in the past to foist things like Beacon on the world with little public input.

Given the amount of personal data Facebook holds, it's critical that the processes governing collection and use of that data be somewhat open. A little transparency should go a long way toward making Facebook's privacy policies palatable.