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GSA Takes Another Big Step Forward

The U.S. General Services Administration now has a terms of service agreement with Facebook, a site with more than 200 million active users and MySpace a leading social portal for connecting people, content and culture. GSA has also reached agreements with Blist which provides a consumer focused service for publishing data on the web, Slideshare a site for sharing of PowerPoint, word and PDF documents and AddThis, a bookmarking and sharing platform reaching more than a half billion users worldwide.

Since last year, a coalition of agencies led by GSA has been negotiating agreements with each new media provider that can work across government. Other federal agencies can now choose to sign the same agreement if it meets their needs because it resolves the legal concerns found in many standard terms and conditions that pose problems for federal agencies, such as liability, endorsements, advertising, freedom of information and governing law.

“We are working at a fevered pace to improve the public’s experience when engaging with the government,” says Martha Dorris, acting associate administrator, Office of Citizen Services and Communications. “USA.gov is breaking new ground by migrating to new media sites to provide a presence and to open up a dialog with the public. We know that many other agencies want to do the same, and having these agreements is an important first step.”

Having a terms-of-service agreement with these new media providers will make it easier for government agencies to create pages and use them to dramatically increase access to information, offer education on government services, and further empower citizens to interact with government.

To date, GSA has signed agreements with Facebook, MySpace, Flickr, YouTube, Vimeo, Blist, Slideshare, AddThis and blip.tv, and is in discussions with many other providers that offer free new media services. In the agreements, new media providers work with GSA as the principal point of contact, making the process more efficient for the government and the providers.

Answering President Obama's call to increase citizen participation in government, GSA has made it easier for federal agencies to use new media tools while meeting their legal requirements.