We all know Facebook allows us to do more than just keep in touch with our friends. Its 500,000 million users also sign in to see what people are saying about the local and world news, it is one of the best places to find local event announcements, and businesses and charities use it to connect with customers and colleagues. The site has also caught on with many cities, elected officials, and government agencies. Many have already been using (or are considering using) Facebook to keep in touch with their constituencies. The #1 social networking site has already proven itself helpful during natural emergencies. It is also proving to be an effective way to distribute information to tax-payers, blast municipal news and citywide events, and get feedback from the general public.
New changes to Facebook’s terms of service will allow more States and local governments to take advantage of the communication tool.
Until this year, many "State and local governments had been concerned that under the previous conditions [of Facebook's terms of service] they would have to pay the company's legal fees if Facebook was sued because of content posted by an agency onto the website," among other issues, according to a Public CIO article posted on GovTech's website, entitled "Facebook Modified Terms of Service for State and Local Government."
Read the article to find out how Facebook has changed their terms of service to better accommodate State and local governments.
Colorado Attorney General John Suthers was especially concerned. "Suthers' office led a year-long negotiation with the social networking site on behalf of 13 states to modify the social networking site's terms of service so they no longer conflict with state constitutions, including Colorado's," Gazette (Colorado Springs) writer Andrew Wineke reports. Negotiations took some time but ultimately they were successful in addressing Suthers' major concerns. The modifications were announced at a National Association of State Chief Information Officers (NASCIO) meeting, in Janaury 2011.
Suthers says; "We look forward to continuing to work with Facebook and starting a new dialogue with the people of Colorado through the company's website."
Jennifer Eberbach is a professional journalist and writer. Find contact information on her website www.jenthewriter.info.
The US Department of State Office of eDiplomacy will launch an internal social networking site, Statebook. Public CIO News writer Russell Nichols reported some of the details on April 12, 2010. He reports that “the site will use social media tools on a secure network to help employees and diplomatic officials scattered around the globe to communicate, collaborate and more easily identify experts in specific fields, according to Richard Boly, director of eDiplomacy.” Measures are being taken to ensure cyber-security. With more and more documents and information posted online everyday the argument can be made that a secure network like Statebook is in order. Users will be able to create profiles, share resources and articles, and help each other find “credible experts” to work with, according to Boly.