Yesterday's some of the social media biggest barometers were off the charts. Why? Facebook essentially chose to pull the rug out from under its users with a highly questionable Terms of Service (TOS) change. Almost 6000 people have dugg Facebook's move on Digg and on Twitter yesterday both TOS and Facebook were top 5 trend topics all day and into the night. I think it was a bad PR move that could have been handled differently. Was there only one option for Facebook to make here? I understand, as I think all users of social networks and other social media sites, that increasingly the web is opening up so sites can share data more easily with each other. When a user chooses to share their data publicly, it no longer distinctly belongs to them. However, the mistake that Facebook made was that they originally told their users that they were free to delete their account and with that account deletion, their data went with them. Then without any warning or grace period, Facebook pulls an about face (pun intended) and reneges on its own TOS with users, basically telling all 100+ million of them, guess what? We changed our mind and your data, it isn't yours any longer, it's ours and we can do whatever we want with it, whenever we want. Period. Instead of following their lawyers' advice, perhaps Facebook ought to have followed their PR's advice and taken a different approach instead. I'm surmising here that this is how things unfolded but too often companies follow the legal advice (say no comment) instead of taking better control of the situation and having less fallout. Right now, Facebook has created a tremendous amount of bad will and that is unfortunate. It is a hard lesson that others may want to remember and avoid.
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