Facebook has a lot of communication problems. Most recently, changes made to its terms of service sent a ripple through the internet community, leaving users feeling like they had unwillingly ceded ownership of their data to the site. Facebook backtracked almost immediately, but the damage has been done. And as PR glitches continue to arise, the company runs the risk of being viewed as a faceless (ironic, huh?) and untrustworthy entity. So it comes as no surprise today that the company is launching a new portion of the site to attach faces to some of the people working behind the scenes.
Facebook People is an area of the site that highlights employees’ thoughts and opinions by aggregating their personal blog entries in a centralized location. The area is split into three categories for different types of posts: “Engineering,” “Platform” and “Life” (with more on the way). Clicking on any of these categories will give you a river of post titles and brief introductions complete with pictures of the Facebook employees who authored them. For example, below you can see Facebook platform manager Dave Morin’s post about the TED conference that he wrote on his own blog.
But just in case things get too crazy on the personal blogging front, Facebook has added a disclaimer along the top of the site that reads:
Welcome to Facebook employee blogs
The entries below are written by Facebook employees. Employees express personal opinions that do not necessarily reflect opinions of Facebook, Inc. To comment or get more details on any of the postings, follow the link to an employee blog.
Even with the disclaimer — and whatever the reason for this addition — I find it pretty refreshing that Facebook is open to highlighting its employees’ ideas. That, along with its newly-stated goal to rewrite its terms of service in plain English instead of traditional legalese, could blaze a trail for other massively-used web companies in the future.
There’s more to Facebook than founder Mark Zuckerberg, and Facebook People helps make that more clear. Perhaps this will alleviate fears that the company is out to do nefarious things to you and your data — after all, they are people too. This whole notion that they are up to no good struck me as pretty humorous during the recent uproar. I laid out why on my own personal blog — my basic gist: If you really, truly believe that Facebook is out to do bad things with your data, why on Earth are you using the service in the first place?
Of course, this is just my opinion, on my own blog. You see, VentureBeat isn’t just a faceless entity (albeit one of solid blogging) either.