Facebook to Give Users the Chance to Vote on Policy Changes

Whenever there are policy changes on Facebook, we can expect some kind of uproar.  Some welcome the the changes, while most do not.  The one thing you can count on is that change is coming, and there is nothing we can do about it – Until now.

Today, however, there could be some reason to rejoice. The company is supposedly going to let its users vote on proposed data use policy changes.

The Statements of Rights and Responsibilities was recently revised, and a provision was added stating that if a proposed change receives comments from over 7,000 Facebook users, then Facebook will put the change up for a vote.

Now, don’t get too excited. 30% of Facebook’s ‘active registered’ user base must vote on the change for it to be binding, and there is further legalese that could hamper any changes that Facebook really doesn’t want to implement:

Opportunity to comment and vote Unless we make a change for legal or administrative reasons, or to correct an inaccurate statement, we will give you seven (7) days to provide us with comments on the change. If we receive more than 7000 comments concerning a particular change, we will put the change up for a vote. The vote will be binding on us if more than 30% of all active registered users as of the date of the notice vote.”

Some bloggers and pundits are concerned that the clause is ambiguous enough to provide Facebook the wiggle room it needs to avoid any compulsory changes initiated by a vote.  Also consider that getting 30% of Facebook’s massive user base of 900 million members will be no small feat.

The proposed Data Use Policy was posted by Facebook on the 11th of May, and activists from www.our-policy.org were largely responsible for the almost 50,000 comments that poured in. Check out their website for a list of demands they are pressing Facebook on.

Click here to read the original Facebook post explaining their proposed changes to the Data Use Policy.

We are hopeful that Facebook users will rise to the occasion and will do their part to press Facebook on important privacy and data security issues. Ultimately, this will make Facebook a better place for us all.

We will keep you updated on how and when the voting process will take place – speculation is that it will be in the weeks, not days head.

Recommended Resources

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