[IRP] An article by Jonathan Zittrain relevant to our work

Bertrand de La Chapelle bdelachapelle
Thu Apr 30 11:22:42 EEST 2009

Dear all,

Wolfgang Kleinw?chter has pointed the governance list to a recent article by
Jonathan Zittrain regarding the initiative by Facebook to have a Statement
of Rights and Responsibilities and a process to involve registered users in
the evolution of its terms of reference. The article is there :

Please find below the comments I sent in response on the governance list, as
it pertains to the workshop proposal that I have submitted on "Governance of
Social Media" at the request of Max. I hope it will go through and am
looking forward to exchanging further on that topic.

Quote :

Thanks Wolfgang for pointing us to this article.

As a matter of fact, the US representative in the recent ITU World Telecom
Policy Forum in Lisbon has used himself the analogy that Jonathan raises by
saying explicitly : "if Facebook were a country, it would be the fifth
largest". If Facebook is really 200 million registered users, it has indeed
passed Brazil in the list of countries ranked by population. (see :

Jonathan's points make sense and I have raised them in the IGF, in
particular in Hyderabad, to highlight the fact that such companies "terms of
service" are not traditional terms of service but become the law of the
space for most users.

The two questions that this brings are :
- *What is the governance of such social networks* : the processes by which
such terms of service are "elaborated and applied" (cf. the definition of
Internet Governance), as they represent "principles, norms, decision-making
procedures and programs" - and in this respect, Facebook is clearly taking
unprecedented initiatives
- *What relation with the web of national laws* : the articulation between
those "company governance regimes" and the various national laws and legal
jurisdictions that should apply.

The Internet has evolved form the physical IP-based network used mostly for
email and file transfer into the http/html-based World Wide Web used to
access information. It is clearly reaching a third stage with social
networking applications, creating a sort of SocioNet, that is looking for
its appropriate governance protocols.

This is the reason why, on behalf of the Dynamic Coalition on Internet
Rights and Principles, I have suggested a workshop theme for the next IGF,
under the title : "The Governance of Social Media", precisely to address
this type of issues. I hope it will be retained.



Bertrand de La Chapelle
D?l?gu? Sp?cial pour la Soci?t? de l'Information / Special Envoy for the
Information Society
Minist?re des Affaires Etrang?res et Europ?ennes/ French Ministry of Foreign
and European Affairs
Tel : +33 (0)6 11 88 33 32

"Le plus beau m?tier des hommes, c'est d'unir les hommes" Antoine de Saint
("there is no greater mission for humans than uniting humans")
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