Facebook doesn't want your input on privacy

The social media giant seeks to end user voting on changes to its policy.

By Jason Notte Nov 21, 2012 4:06PM

Just when you thought you could breeze through the last work day before Thanksgiving with help from the thousand-yard Internet stare, here's Facebook (FB) jarring you out of your tech loop with yet another privacy issue.


Because Facebook is like the fidgety kid in grade school who can't hold it together until the bell rings and ends up misbehaving the entire class into a pop quiz when it could have coasted by on hand-turkey drawings, it just had to mess with its privacy protocol on Wednesday. The company plans to stop letting users vote on changes to its privacy policies, instead only letting them comment on proposed updates.


Yes, because privacy issues aren't a huge sticking point for Facebook. At all.


It's not as if Facebook's privacy policy incurred the wrath of the Irish Data Protection Comissioner's office last year and resulted in a full audit of how the site's treatment of 818 million European users complied with E.U. Law. It's not as if that audit led to a step-by-step walkthrough of Facebook's privacy policies, new privacy settings for individual posts and photos and a settlement with the Federal Trade Commission last November over its handling of user data.


The site's voting process was the individual user's only means of affecting which parts of their profile Facebook could show and which portions would be hidden by privacy settings. If a privacy policy change drummed up 7,000 comments, the change went to votes. If more than 30% of Facebook's user base voted for it or against it, then their decision stood.


Granted, the site had only 200 million users when it adopted this model in 2009 and has more than 1 billion now, but it still makes Facebook an open democracy. It became a cudgel for privacy activists like the Austrian-based group Europe Vs. Facebook, which spurred on the Facebook audit by using one of the site's lesser known policies to request detailed copies of users' personal information. The group forced a vote on its own revisions to Facebook policy last year, though only 380,000 people cast ballots.


TechCrunch argues that the current 7,000-comment voting threshold is too low and allows groups like Europe Vs. Facebook outsized influence on policy, but also insists that dropping the vote altogether isn't exactly sound policy. Keeping the number that low lets gibberish and spam comments trigger a vote, while a higher threshold would arguably introduce more real people and opinions into the mix.


Getting rid of the vote would only make more Facebook users do what many Facebook exiles on Google+, the new MySpace, Twitter and only social networks already have: Completely distrust Facebook. The site has already faced privacy concerns about its facial-recognition photo tagging, account deletion, "couple" pages and other prying aspects of its service.


With its stock plummeting more than 36% in the last year and its losses last quarter unmasking its revenue as a giant game of Zynga's (ZNGA) FarmVille, the last thing Facebook needs is another excuse for skittish users to nuke their accounts. For Facebook users who'd rather stick around without letting the company unilaterally decide who gets to peep at their personal information, there's still time to comment and vote on what could be Facebook's last democratic approach to privacy.


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21Comments
Nov 21, 2012 8:25PM
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FB has had so many problems, I am glad I don't use it!

 

For the FB users, just remember that anything you put on FB is like putting it on the front page of a newspaper.

Nov 21, 2012 8:13PM
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Why are you posting private info anyway? Nothing on the web is private. Wake up!
Nov 21, 2012 7:17PM
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I no longer use Facebook because of privacy issues and have deleted my Facebook account. They totally disregard their customer's wishes. Without authorization (they did not ask, nor did I give them permission) Facebook posted information from an anonymous venue onto my facebook page, causing the exposure of my identity to people I didn't want to have that information. Facebook has done this to many other people I know and all of them have also cancelled their Facebook accounts. They cannot be trusted!!!!!!!!! Close the FB site down.
Nov 21, 2012 6:53PM
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lmao! More BS from the fools who think they're the next Microsoft! :P

The Knuckleheads have never allowed you to delete an old account any way! 

WhyTF not!???...Because they want your to sell your information to the highest bidder!!!

 I tried to get on My old account and change the security info,some ahole had hacked it and changed the password!Now I have no way of changing it...and if you write a complaint to the help section it's like it vanishes into cyberspace :/Nothing ever gets done there!!!Or so it seems.

I joined a group there that does a much better job than the employees that actually work for FB :(

Since joining this group I have not had any problems as far as a hacker,or even getting spammed by the annoying game feeds!!!

Idiots like the Folks running Face Book now need to have a lot more concern for their account holders.Or as stated it will soon be a thing of the past!

They may have over a billion users now but most are fake or bogus accounts,just so they can spam you or have a better chance of stealing more information from the real Folks!!! BS,BS and more BS ;)

Glad I keep my boots on when I go to my page!!! lol

I also use google + and have no concerns about my info going to the wrong people,I know it's collected,just nothing like FB,what in the Hell do they need all that info for any way??? :P

Nov 21, 2012 6:52PM
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I deleted my account three months ago.  I don't miss it.  There are far better ways to waste time than facebook. 
Nov 21, 2012 6:13PM
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Facebook won't be around much longer.  Have you been to Google+ with some compuproof ?  WOW
Nov 21, 2012 6:09PM
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Facebook doesn't want user input on privacy?

Wait a tick... When did Facebook ever have privacy?

Nov 21, 2012 5:57PM
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I never joined facebook, saw how much time others wasted on it...

Facebook  cant be trusted with Any of your information...FYI

Nov 21, 2012 5:50PM
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Again? Seems like every other week FB decides to make changes which only  causes it to get continually more difficult to use. I make changes as to where I want my pics and comments on my page only to see everything rearranged all by itself the next time I log in. Seems to me a bunch of folks on the FB payroll are constantly trying to justify their positions and salaries. To them, I suggest: they start looking for another career. FB will go the way of MySpace.
Nov 21, 2012 5:46PM
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seriously?..hioos own personal bank account..
Nov 21, 2012 5:05PM
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everyone needs to delete there accounts and move on then watch fb i deleted mine 3 months ago.when i heard they were letting companys see your info even though you had it marked private..so screw fb and the horse they road in on..but wait the idiots out there wont do that you have to have a IQ above 60...
Nov 21, 2012 5:03PM
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Seriously, what about Mark Zuckerberg doesn't smell of loser?
Nov 21, 2012 4:58PM
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....and ya wonder why their stock tanked ...
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