Once upon a time Facebook had principles.
We are building Facebook to make the world more open and transparent, which we believe will create greater understanding and connection. Facebook promotes openness and transparency by giving individuals greater power to share and connect, and certain principles guide Facebook in pursuing these goals. Achieving these principles should be constrained only by limitations of law, technology, and evolving social norms. We therefore establish these Principles as the foundation of the rights and responsibilities of those within the Facebook Service.
Freedom to Share and Connect
People should have the freedom to share whatever information they want, in any medium and any format, and have the right to connect online with anyone – any person, organization or service – as long as they both consent to the connection.
Ownership and Control of Information
People should own their information. They should have the freedom to share it with anyone they want and take it with them anywhere they want, including removing it from the Facebook Service. People should have the freedom to decide with whom they will share their information, and to set privacy controls to protect those choices. Those controls, however, are not capable of limiting how those who have received information may use it, particularly outside the Facebook Service.
Free Flow of Information
People should have the freedom to access all of the information made available to them by others. People should also have practical tools that make it easy, quick, and efficient to share and access this information.
Every Person – whether individual, advertiser, developer, organization, or other entity – should have representation and access to distribution and information within the Facebook Service, regardless of the Person’s primary activity. There should be a single set of principles, rights, and responsibilities that should apply to all People using the Facebook Service.
People should have the freedom to build trust and reputation through their identity and connections, and should not have their presence on the Facebook Service removed for reasons other than those described in Facebook’s Statement of Rights and Responsibilities.
Open Platforms and Standards
People should have programmatic interfaces for sharing and accessing the information available to them. The specifications for these interfaces should be published and made available and accessible to everyone.
People should be able to use Facebook for free to establish a presence, connect with others, and share information with them. Every Person should be able to use the Facebook Service regardless of his or her level of participation or contribution.
The rights and responsibilities of Facebook and the People that use it should be described in a Statement of Rights and Responsibilities, which should not be inconsistent with these Principles.
Facebook should publicly make available information about its purpose, plans, policies, and operations. Facebook should have a town hall process of notice and comment and a system of voting to encourage input and discourse on amendments to these Principles or to the Rights and Responsibilities.
The Facebook Service should transcend geographic and national boundaries and be available to everyone in the world.”
They actually still do have some of a far different sort.
They’re not the same ones as before. They’re not the ones I’ve listed above.
At one point there was a link to them, and while that link was hard to find, it still could be found. Not anymore; it redirects you to their new About page. I was even redirected on the Wayback Machine to the new page, but thankfully I know my way around that asset fairly well so I was able to obtain them and post them above. If you do a web search you’ll still find reference to them, but if you click on the link in whatever reference you’ll be redirected of course.
This is what you get if you put the address in the WaybackMachine now. What that means in red letters is that when they crawled the site on that date, they got the 301 response message which means Moved Permanently and is used for permanent redirecting.
Why does this matter? What’s the big deal?
If you read the ones I posted at the beginning of this you’ll see I’m sure. Following those principles today will get you banned for at least 24 hours and depending on if you’ve received bans before or not, quite a bit longer. They’d probably get your page removed too, if you have one and post anything they disapprove of; as has happened to a lot of people. Remember their last page purge, when they began deleting pages and removing profiles just because the content or thought wasn’t in line with their idea of what’s right for others, whether it violated Community Standards or not? I want to know WTF happened to your principles Facebook.
Oh look, I have a link to them as they were written originally. (Click on the text Facebook Principles at the beginning of the list to access the WaybackMachine’s copy of them before the redirect. They’re posted verbatim here though if you want to save yourself a click and just believe me. )
I mean it’s their company they can do whatever the hell they want with it but don’t promote yourself as one thing and then be another. This is from their new list of principles.
Give People a Voice
People deserve to be heard and to have a voice — even when that means defending the right of people we disagree with.