Facebook – the social network giant has posed the opportunity for its users to vote on changes to their privacy policies. The focus wraps around how the network uses ‘user’ information through data collection practices and the use of that data for advertising. The giant is aiming at providing clear explanations to its users of how information is shared. In other words, users will have options to control how their information is shared. The voting was opened on June 1, 2012 and will close June 8, 2012.
Although some consider this to be a way to engage users, some say that users are not actually voting on policies, but rather voting for the old policy or the new policy. The old policy, per se, involves more complex language – harder for the user to decipher. On the other hand, the new policy is more transparent – easier and clearer for the user to understand. Co-Chair and Director, Jules Polonetsky of the organization Future of Privacy Forum feels “they’re going through with a vote because they promised a vote, but they’re really not going to end up with anything useful.”
‘Recently, Facebook provided revisions to its SRR and Data Use Policy to, among other things, improve the documents by adding examples and detailed explanations to help users better understand their policies and practices; comply with the law; incorporate feedback from the Irish Data Protection Commissioner’s Office, other regulators, and users; and reflect the addition of new products and services, like Timeline.’
So, if users want to vote, they have until Friday, June 8, 2012 to do so. However, keep in mind that in order for the results of the voting to even matter and taken into consideration, more than 30% of Facebook users have to vote. If that is not the case, the question then, is there anything useful in the process at all?