Facebook faces backlash over decision to halt privacy votes

by Emily Senger

Facebook wants to remove its current process that lets users vote on changes to its data privacy policy, in a move that has prompted criticism from many users.

In an email sent to all users late Wednesday and early Thursday, Facebook said: “We deeply value the feedback we receive from you during our comment period but have found that the voting mechanism created a system that incentivized quantity of comments over the quality of them. So, we are proposing to end the voting component in order to promote a more meaningful environment for feedback.”

According to Mashable, part of the reason for the change is that so few users took advantage of the voting component during past votes.

“In June, the company proposed two alternative versions of its statement of rights and responsibilities, and let users vote on them for a whole week. A mere 342,632 cast their ballots,” writes Chris Taylor. “That was roughly one in every 2,600 users — or 0.038% of Facebook’s population at the time.”

However, some users are mounting a challenge. At www.our-policy.org, users are being urged to post: “I oppose the changes and want a vote about the demands on www.our-policy.org” on the Facebook Site Governance page.

The email sent to users says they are able to give feedback on the Facebook Site Governance page until Nov. 28 and the Our Policy website is urging at least 7,000 users to post the statement before the deadline.

Another change cited in the email says that users will soon be able to submit privacy concerns and questions to Facebook’s chief privacy officer of policy.

If proposed privacy changes go through, they would allow Facebook to better share user data with affiliate businesses, including Instagram, which it bought for $1 billion in April, reports Wired UK.




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