Facebook Government Pages May Grow In Number

State and local governments now have the same terms for pages that the U.S. government does, and that could prompt a surge in page creation by entities that had been holding back until now.

The attorneys general in 15 states have reached an agreement with Facebook over how state and local governments represent themselves on social network pages. This may prompt a surge in page creation by such entities.

The agreement resembles one that Facebook arranged with the U.S. government, clarifying the terms for the way federal agencies present themselves and connect with the public via pages on the social network.

A press release put out by the Utah Attorney General’s Office explains how Facebook has modified four provisions of its terms and conditions to meet government needs:

  • Striking the indemnity clause except to the extent indemnity is allowed by a state’s constitution or law.
  • Striking language requiring legal disputes be handled in California courts and adjudicated under California law.
  • Requiring a public agency include language directing consumers to its official website prominently on any Facebook page.
  • Encouraging amicable resolution between public entities and Facebook over any disputes.

These four things go into effect immediately for state and local governments that already have pages on Facebook and will also apply to any others that subsequently create presences on the social network.

After a 2009 agreement between Facebook and the federal government on the four points mentioned above, page creation by U.S. agencies surged from around 33 to well over 50 and still growing. So it’s expected that a similar phenomenon will happen among states and local jurisdictions.

The timing of this couldn’t be better, given today’s first ever live broadcast of the U.S. House of Representatives floor proceedings on Facebook. Presumably, states, counties, cities, school districts, courts, fire departments, police — anything that has a government or public stamp on it will likely get going on the social network.

Do the modifications of the terms for government and public entities strike you as fair compared to Facebook’s policies for other types of page administrators? Will you feel more inclined to connect with your local officials if they have pages on the social network?