Facebook Wants To End The User Voting System On Privacy Policies

By Alexandra Burlacu | Nov 23, 2012 09:42 AM EST

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Social networking giant Facebook has announced some modifications to the way it changes its privacy policies, apparently in a bid to encourage better feedback.

Facebook sent out emails to members on Nov. 21, informing them of its plans to change its user-based system of voting for privacy policy changes. The soon-to-be-abolished system that has been in place since 2009 would put any potential policy change up for a vote if more than 7,000 user comments regarding the change were generated. The final vote, meanwhile, required 30 percent or more of the network's worldwide user base to cast their virtual ballot on the potential policy change.

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As Facebook grew its user base to one billion+ users, the 7,000-comment mark has become easy to achieve, while the 30 percent participation requirement became harder to meet.

Facebook is now proposing updates to two documents governing the site: the Data Use Policy, which explains how the social network collects and uses data when people use Facebook, and the Statement of Rights and Responsibilities (SRR), which details the terms governing the use of Facebook's services.

According to Elliot Schrage, Facebook's vice president of communications, public policy and marketing, the social networking company wants to end the voting component of the process in favor of a new system that would allow for "more meaningful feedback and engagement."

"We will continue to post significant changes to our Data Use Policy and SRR and provide a seven-day period for review and comment. As always, we will carefully consider your feedback before adopting any changes," noted Schrage. "We will also provide additional notification mechanisms, including email, for informing you of those changes. In the coming weeks, we will roll out new ways of responding to your questions and comments about Facebook."

The Data Use Policy also features updates that offer more details about Facebook's practices and reflect changes to its products. It also includes new tools for managing Facebook Messages, replacing the "Who can send you Facebook messages" setting with new filters for users to manage incoming messages.

Other changes include how it refers to certain products such as instant personalization, as well as reminders about what is visible to other users on Facebook.

Lastly, Facebook will also be offering tips on managing user Timelines. Users can, for instance, employ tools on their Timeline or activity log to delete their own posts, or they can ask somebody else to delete a post in which they have been tagged. Users, however, do not seem too happy about Facebook's attempt to end user voting.

"I oppose to the changes and want a vote about the demands on www.our-policy.org," read most of the comments on Facebook's announcement. Users can comment on the proposed changes at this link.

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