Editor’s note: This story was revised for accuracy at 7:35 p.m. Thursday.
Chip Stewart, assistant professor of media law in the Schieffer School of Journalism, said it’s unusual for any company to negotiate with its users what the legal relationship between them is going to be.
“If people feel like their voices have been heard, and they feel like they have had real impact on these terms, that has a lot of value,” Stewart said. “… it may avoid legal problems later on.”
Stewart said users questioned the intentions behind Facebook’s permanent license and want reassurance that the site won’t use it without users’ permission.
“What Facebook is trying to do is convince people [it] is not doing it because [Facebook] has some nefarious purpose in mind,” Stewart said. “It’s the only way [Facebook] can manage the site and servers.”
According to the site, users will be allowed to vote on items within the two documents called the Facebook Principles and the Statement of Rights and Responsibilities before both proposals go into effect.
The Facebook Principles document will define user rights and collaborate their discussions to form the overruling principles of the site, according to “Facebook Town Hall: Proposed Facebook Principles”.
According to Zuckerberg’s blog post, the principles will become guidelines for future changes made to any of the policies on Facebook.
According to “Facebook Town Halll,” the three major issues in conflict are Facebook’s power over user content and the license’s length of time, users’ right to receive notifications of policy changes and the use of a clear and simple language within policies.
According to “Facebook Town Hall” page, the community wants Facebook to assure users they own their content.
According to the proposed Statement of Rights and Responsibilities, user content will be deleted upon user request, but content shared with others may remain on the site until the secondary user deletes it. The document also states that account deactivation will cause Facebook’s license to expire.
Facebook will allow users to comment on the groups about both documents until 2:01 a.m. March 29.