Users Can Soon Vote On Proposed Facebook Privacy Policy Changes

By Justin Lafferty 

When Facebook told users it was planning to approve changes to its data use policy and statement of rights and responsibilities without putting them to a vote, users and privacy advocates were up in arms. Luckily, commenters have taken matters into their own hands, posting enough comments on the note announcing the changes to force Facebook to put them to a vote.

Facebook originally decided to implement a comment feedback system after a pitiful voter turnout the last time changes were made. In June, Facebook set the bar at 30 percent of active users voting for policy changes, but less than 1 percent actually made their voices official. The company felt that a system where users could comment or send feedback to Facebook, and then have those suggestions taken into consideration, was a more efficient method.

While Facebook felt it would be easier to do away with the vote, several others disagreed. Here’s a sampling from the comments section of the note where Facebook announced the potential policy changes:

  • I have ALWAYS opposed having all the changes be put into effect on Facebook with no possibility of inputting our wishes.
  • Opposed to the changes. I want my right to vote on these changes.
  • I am opposed to these changes– in particular the change in voting policy. Users should have the right to vote on substantial changes.
  • I oppose these changes. I also wish to retain the right to vote on any changes and be notified of said changes.
  • I am opposed to these changes, in particular the ability to vote and also how my information is used, and with whom you will share.

The Electronic Privacy Information Center has also voiced opposition, writing a letter to Facebook:

Because these proposed changes raise privacy risks for users, may be contrary to law, and violate your previous commitments to users about site governance, we urge you to withdraw the proposed changes.

It appears that Facebook users will get the chance to vote on these changes, after all. Since the post has gained a substantial amount of comments (more than 19,000 from greater than 7,000 users), Facebook will soon open up a seven-day voting period, allowing users to make their voices heard. However, it will again take 30 percent of Facebook’s roughly 1 billion-strong population to stop the changes.

Readers: Now that you know, will you vote?