Facebook lets users comment on new terms of service

Facebook is asking its members to help shape its governance policies after drawing their ire for a policy change that many perceived as being overbearing and potentially compromising privacy.

From now on, the social networking site will be guided by a set of principles that reflect its dedication to transparency and openness in communication, Facebook said on Thursday.

Two draft documents are being put to test under what Facebook Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg called a "new model of governance."

The "Facebook Principles" lay out the startup company's philosophy on privacy and control of information, while the "Statement of Rights and Responsibilities" are operating guidelines based on its big-picture stance.

Any Facebook member can access these proposals on the site and opine on them over the next few days. The networking site will incorporate people's reviews when firming up governance policies. Future policy changes will follow the same democratic model, the company said.

"It's a big statement that we trust users and we want their involvement in the process," Zuckerberg said in an interview.

The move comes after thousands of people reacted angrily to a revision in Facebook's terms of service earlier this month that suggested it was asserting permanent control over people's personal information even after they quit the site.

Facebook responded to the controversy last week by reverting to its old terms of service for the short term, as it solicited feedback from members and figured out how to create a new user agreement.

The new proposals make it clear that Facebook users have ultimate control over their information, including messages and photographs.

One of the 10 principles states that people should own their information and have the freedom to take it with them wherever they go, including removing it from Facebook.

The "Statement of Rights and Responsibilities," which replaces the old terms of use, translates the principles into specific rules.

Simon Davis, director of Privacy International, a watchdog organization, said it was a "bold move" on Facebook's part. "The devil will be in the detail, but, overall, we applaud these positive steps," he said.