Warm Southern Breeze

"… there is no such thing as nothing."

Once, upon a time, FaceBookistan held a vote on their Privacy Policy… and there was 0.04% turnout.

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Now let’s be honest about this.

How many people here KNEW that FaceBook was conducting a privacy policy vote?

Raise your hands and wave if you did.

How’d you find out?

Did you tell your friends?

Do these issue even raise the slightest bit of concern with you?

Even if these issues do concern you, why doesn’t FaceBook make greater, more significant efforts to inform their user base & general public?

Slowly but surely FaceBookistan is becoming like the elephant in the tent.

Slowly but surely, your privacy is being eroded.

Does anyone really give a rat’s rip?

Facebook Holds a Vote and Turnout Is Low

By SOMINI SENGUPTA, June 8, 2012, 9:39 pm

It has more than 900 million people. It has its own currency. And this month, for the first time, the digital republic known as Facebook held elections of a sort: it offered users a chance to vote on the way the site is governed, including how the company deploys its users’ data.

Turnout was spectacularly bad in the digital republic that the writer Rebecca Mackinnon has dubbed Facebookistan. Fewer than 350,000 Facebook users voted, or under 0.04 percent.

“Given these efforts and the subsequent turnout,” Elliot Schrage, its vice president of communications and public policy, wrote on the site, “We plan to review this process to determine how to maximize our ability to promote user engagement and participation in our site governance process in the future.”

It was not for lack of trying, Facebook said. The company said it translated the necessary documents into several languages and publicized the vote through the site.

Of those who voted, a large majority said they preferred the old policies over proposed amendments. Facebook had said the vote would be binding had there been a 30 percent turnout at minimum. There was not, and the company announced that it would go ahead and adopt the proposed amendments to its site governance and data use policy.

The amendments, finalized in May, are designed to clarify how Facebook collects data from its users and leverages it to drive advertising. It specifies what information is public on Facebook (name, gender, timeline photo), what data an application developer receives once you download its application (most get at least your name, e-mail and list of Facebook friends), and whether your information disappears from the company’s memory once you deactivate your account (it does not).

The amendments stem in part from an inquiry initiated by Ireland’s Data Protection Commission, which is the regulator in charge of Facebook’s operations in Europe.

“We value the feedback we have received from you during the voting process and our notice and comment period,” Mr. Schrage added in his blog post. “We will take it into serious consideration for any future changes we contemplate to these two documents and as we continue to develop our service.”

Still, Facebook’s critics were not satisfied. A group of students that filed the original complaint with the Irish regulator criticized Facebook for not making it easier to find where and how to vote. ”To us this is more of a Chinese than an American understanding of democracy,” the group, called Europe versus Facebook, said in an e-mail statement Friday.


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