The Canadian Press - ONLINE EDITION

Facebook proposes ending practice of letting users vote on privacy changes, will keep comments

  • Print

NEW YORK, N.Y. - Facebook is proposing to end its practice of letting users vote on changes to its privacy policies, though it will continue to let users comment on proposed updates.

The world's biggest social media company said in a blog post Wednesday that its voting mechanism, which is triggered only if enough people comment on proposed changes, has become a system that emphasizes quantity of responses over quality of discussion.

Users tend to leave one or two-word comments objecting to changes instead of more in-depth responses.

Facebook said it will continue to inform users of "significant changes" to its privacy policy, called its data use policy, and to its statement of user rights and responsibilities. The company will keep its seven-day comment period and take users' feedback into consideration.

"We will also provide additional notification mechanisms, including email, for informing you of those changes," wrote Elliot Schrage, Facebook's vice-president of communications, public policy and marketing, in the post.

Facebook began letting users vote on privacy changes in 2009. Since then, it has gone public and its user base has ballooned from around 200 million to more than 1 billion. As part of the 2009 policy, users' votes only count if more than 30 per cent of all Facebook's active users partake. That did not happen during either of the two times users voted and it's unlikely that it will now, given that more than 300 million people would have to participate.

Jules Polonetsky, director of the Future of Privacy Forum, an industry-backed think-tank in Washington, said the voting process was a "noble experiment" that didn't lead to informed debate.

Facebook said in June that it was reviewing how to get the best feedback from users on its policies.

Facebook is also proposing changes to its data use policy, such as making it clear that when users hide a post or photo from their profile page, the "timeline," those posts are not truly hidden and can be visible elsewhere, including on another person's page.

Polonetsky called Facebook's data use policy "kind of a good handbook" and a "reasonable read" on how to navigate the site's complex settings.

But most people don't read the privacy policies of websites they frequent, even Facebook's.

"I certainly recommend that people read it, but most users just want to poke someone and like someone and look at a picture," Polonetsky said.

Facebook's task, he added, will be to continue to evolve its user interface — the part of the site that its users interact with — so that answers to questions are obvious and people don't need to wade through the policy.

__

Online:

Blog post: https://www.facebook.com/fbsitegovernance/app_4949752878

Fact Check

Fact Check

Have you found an error, or know of something we’ve missed in one of our stories?
Please use the form below and let us know.

* Required
  • Please post the headline of the story or the title of the video with the error.

  • Please post exactly what was wrong with the story.

  • Please indicate your source for the correct information.

  • Yes

    No

  • This will only be used to contact you if we have a question about your submission, it will not be used to identify you or be published.

  • Cancel

Having problems with the form?

Contact Us Directly
  • Print

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

Have Your Say

New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press Subscribers only. why?

The Winnipeg Free Press does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. These terms were revised effective April 16, 2010.

letters

Make text: Larger | Smaller

LATEST VIDEO

The greening of Elphaba the Wicked Witch in Wicked

View more like this

Photo Store Gallery

  • Water lilys are reflected in the pond at the Leo Mol Sculpture Garden Tuesday afternoon. Standup photo. Sept 11,  2012 (Ruth Bonneville/Winnipeg Free Press)
  • STDUP ‚Äì Beautiful West End  begins it's summer of bloom with boulevard s, front yards  and even back lane gardens ,  coming alive with flowers , daisies and poppies  dress up a backyard lane on Camden St near Wolseley Ave  KEN GIGLIOTTI  / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS  /  June 26 2012

View More Gallery Photos

Poll

What do you think of Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s comment that Tina Fontaine’s slaying was a crime, and not part of a larger sociological problem?

View Results

View Related Story

Ads by Google