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Facebook Users Voting On Privacy, Instagram, Other Issues 80

Posted by timothy
from the so-dnc-donors-control-the-election dept.
Nerval's Lobster writes "Facebook is letting users vote on changes to its Data Use Policy and Statement of Rights and Responsibilities (Facebook users can vote via this link). The company will also host a live Webcast to answer questions at 9:30 AM PST. One section of Facebook's revamped policies insists that the network can share information with its family of companies. This apparently applies to Instagram, the photo-sharing service acquired by Facebook earlier this year. Under the terms of the provision, Facebook can store 'Instagram's server logs and administrative records in a way that is more efficient than maintaining totally separate storage systems.' Facebook is also clarifying its language surrounding affiliates, as well. As long as Facebook continues to exist in its current form, these debates over its privacy rules will almost certainly continue to crop up on a semi-regular basis. The challenge for Facebook executives is how to best maintain that delicate dance between their need for revenue, advertising firms' desire for effective marketing campaigns, and users' rights to privacy. They run a corporation — but at moments, it also starts to resemble a messy democracy."
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Facebook Users Voting On Privacy, Instagram, Other Issues

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  • by eldavojohn (898314) * <eldavojohn@nOspAM.gmail.com> on Tuesday December 04, 2012 @12:22PM (#42180207) Journal
    There are only two options. Both options are super shitty and laced with lies or "half truths."
    • They forgot the option:

      TL;DR

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Jetra (2622687)
      *Deletes Facebook account* Option three.
      • by Culture20 (968837)
        That's not really an option. You'll have a shadow account for life.
        • by Jetra (2622687)
          *Gets EMP grenade. Goes to Facebook servers. Toss in, mix well with fire*
          • by Desler (1608317)

            Which are redundantly backed up all over the world. Have fun with that.

            • by Jetra (2622687)
              ....Damn.
            • Uh, and also making an EMP grenade and using it is not the best way to uphold your privacy. In fact, I think that would get your picture plastered over every major newspaper. Or in a CIA/some other government agency list/secret holding cell/unmarked grave.
    • by Anonymous Coward

      As a political social engineer*, I can tell you that we consider "half truths" and the like to be the best kind of lies.
      Because you can tell people that they are not lies, and people will accept that, because they think only positive lies (where you say something wrong) would be lies, and not negative lies (where you don't say something right).

      That makes some things incredibly easy. You can openly lie your ass off, and they got nothing, even though they know it's all blatant lies.

      (* Don't worry, I'm not wor

      • by kelemvor4 (1980226) on Tuesday December 04, 2012 @02:22PM (#42181841)

        As a political social engineer*, I can tell you that we consider "half truths" and the like to be the best kind of lies. Because you can tell people that they are not lies, and people will accept that, because they think only positive lies (where you say something wrong) would be lies, and not negative lies (where you don't say something right).

        That makes some things incredibly easy. You can openly lie your ass off, and they got nothing, even though they know it's all blatant lies.

        (* Don't worry, I'm not working for either "side". I never was in the US in my life, and never will be.)

        But what aren't you saying here?

    • by ApplePy (2703131)

      Giant Douche, or Turd Sandwich?

      Your Vote Matters!

  • Voting Schmoting (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward

    Other places where people get to "vote:" China, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Cuba

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Fuck your smarmy attitude. It's a website, either use it or don't use it. Nobody's forcing you to do either, so don't make such a big deal about it.

      • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 04, 2012 @01:13PM (#42180859)

        Facebook isn't just a "website". It's size and reach are helping define what people expect of privacy. I have not ever had a Facebook account, yet I fully expect my future expectations of privacy to hinge on what the masses accept on Facebook. If Facebook sticks around and sets trends and expectations for years to come, what happens there matters. If millions of Americans grant access to something I might consider private, the government may stop defining that thing with a reasonable expectation of privacy. Even if *I* never granted that access.
        So, while smarmy isn't productive, some sort of attitude is relevant here. Maybe attitude is what's necessary to get people thinking about what's at stake?

  • Not a Democracy (Score:5, Interesting)

    by nman64 (912054) * on Tuesday December 04, 2012 @12:29PM (#42180315) Homepage

    Never, ever mistake a company collecting feedback from its users for a democracy. Facebook's users aren't even its paying customers.

    • by Shagg (99693)

      Yep. Facebook's users are the product. That's a big part of the problem right there.

  • Options (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 04, 2012 @12:33PM (#42180355)

    "They run a corporation â" but at moments, it also starts to resemble a messy democracy."

    At first, I was going to roll my eyes (as if the submitter actually implied that this gesture resembled democracy in reality in any way), but then I reliased what a genius comment this was.

    Of course it resembles a messy democracy: it's a meaningless facade presented by a corporation.

  • LOL, epic fail ... (Score:5, Informative)

    by gstoddart (321705) on Tuesday December 04, 2012 @12:38PM (#42180419) Homepage

    So if you already have your permissions a little restrictive and don't allow apps, when you go there you get confronted with this:

    Start Now Apps and Games
    You are about to use Facebook Site Governance, a Start Now app. These apps start with your name, profile picture, other public info and friend list to immediately personalize your experience on Facebook.
    Opt Out at Any Time
    There are two ways to stop using this app and its personalization features. The first few times you use it, click Disable in the banner at the top. You can also remove it in App Settings.
    To opt out of all Start Now apps, visit your Instant Personalization Settings. Learn more about instant personalization.

    So, in order to participate in this voting, you need to agree to even more access by this thing just to find out what it looks like.

    Facebook really are a bunch of asses aren't they? This is the same setting which wants to be used by apps and games to give them access to all of your data.

    Will someone please lock Zuckerface into a room with a bear or something?

    • by deiol (741017)

      So if you already have your permissions a little restrictive and don't allow apps, when you go there you get confronted with this:

      Start Now Apps and Games
      You are about to use Facebook Site Governance, a Start Now app. These apps start with your name, profile picture, other public info and friend list to immediately personalize your experience on Facebook.
      Opt Out at Any Time
      There are two ways to stop using this app and its personalization features. The first few times you use it, click Disable in the banner at the top. You can also remove it in App Settings.
      To opt out of all Start Now apps, visit your Instant Personalization Settings. Learn more about instant personalization.

      So, in order to participate in this voting, you need to agree to even more access by this thing just to find out what it looks like.

      Facebook really are a bunch of asses aren't they? This is the same setting which wants to be used by apps and games to give them access to all of your data.

      Will someone please lock Zuckerface into a room with a bear or something?

      I believe you are prompted with this request for permission because I don't think this is an actual application or voting page from Facebook. This is an application from a social media company called Thuzi. The 'voting page' linked in the summary contains an iframe to https://fbgovernance.thuzi.com/ [thuzi.com]. I don't think this is legitimate.

      • by jonnythan (79727)

        No, you specifically need to allow the app in order to cast your vote. That's because it's the only good way to interface the module with your account. It doesn't make sense to somehow plug it directly into the backend and feed it through your Settings or something.

      • by gstoddart (321705)

        I believe you are prompted with this request for permission because I don't think this is an actual application or voting page from Facebook. This is an application from a social media company called Thuzi.

        So, in order to vote on Facebook's privacy policy you need to allow a 3rd party access to your data, and possibly against what you've already chosen as your privacy policy.

        They're not even trying are they?

  • Irrespective of the results, suppose they don't align to your expectations, there is really only one alternative as stated in their TOS - leave. That's what happens when you command a user base of a billion.
  • failbork (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Korruptionen (2647747) on Tuesday December 04, 2012 @12:42PM (#42180475) Journal
    To be honest, there is NOTHING that makes me think of privacy when using FaceBook. To me... there privacy is an illusion, nothing more.
    • by Anonymous Coward

      THANK YOU. I don't get why everyone's always up in arms about Facebook privacy. The rule is simple - don't post anything on Facebook that you don't mind the rest of the world knowing/seeing/indexed forever/whatever.

      It's the price to pay when you're using these sorts of websites. We weren't forced to create an account there.

    • What the hell are you talking about? In that case, all privacy is an illusion.

      There are privacy settings on Facebook which you can set to restrict other people, applications or websites from seeing the data that you have chosen to enter into Facebook. I just went to the privacy settings and saw the you can stop Facebook from interacting with other websites and applications entirely, but I'm leaving the capabilities enabled because I find it convenient to use the "login with Facebook" button on some sites. (

      • I agree with you, actually. What the hell I was talking about was the illusion that FaceBook may give their population by "voting?" As the comment before stated, do not post anything on facebook that you do not want out there forever. That's partly what I was talking about. The other issue of this ties in with the ownership of content, and how privacy is kinda thrown by the wayside when whatever you post on facebook doesn't technically belong to you anymore. For a time, I didn't use facebook. Now when
        • Oh. Yep, I'd say we're in agreement then :p It's nice to see someone who is taking a rational and realistic stance on the issue for once.

          I went to this voting app hoping that it would be about voting on default privacy settings. When I saw that it was voting on one of two Facebook-defined privacy policies, I left.

          • Didn't even look. Not because I have facebook blocked with my security appliance here at work, but because I kinda knew that's what was going to happen. To me, if they were going to have defaults voted on... that would be at least a step in the correct direction. For example, if pages were completely closed down by default and you had to go in and specify what type of data you want to share... rather than wide open. In the past, these "privacy" settings I swear change without notice, and I've had info s
  • by aaron44126 (2631375) on Tuesday December 04, 2012 @12:54PM (#42180613) Homepage
    One of the changes in the new set of documents is the removal of this community voting process. Ars Technica has a brief article [arstechnica.com] on the changes.
  • So far the outcome is overwhelmingly in favour of keeping their current "SRR" and Data Use Policy, by about 10:1.
    • by Anonymous Coward

      If I recall correctly, FB is free to ignore any vote with less than 40% participation. So please ask 400,000,000 of your FB Friends to participate. When I voted 3 hours ago, about 60,000 had done so.

      • Accordning to a note from Facebook Site Governance [facebook.com] if "more than 30% of all active registered users vote, the results will be binding. If turnout is less than 30%, the vote will be advisory".

        To expect 30% to actually read the proposed changes or even care to vote... well, I guess that's a little optimistic. I wouldn't expect the vote to actually have any effect at all so the changes will probably be implemented anyway. Not that I suggest not to vote but this "democratic approach" seems like it's just for
  • I checked the link in the summary: https://apps.facebook.com/fbsitegovernance/ [facebook.com] and it consists of an iframe that loads the remote site https://fbgovernance.thuzi.com/ [thuzi.com].

    Was Thuzi contracted by Facebook to perform this vote? Why would they be? Thuzi appears to be some sort of online social media marketing firm. Looks fishy to me.

    • by deiol (741017)

      I checked the link in the summary: https://apps.facebook.com/fbsitegovernance/ [facebook.com] and it consists of an iframe that loads the remote site https://fbgovernance.thuzi.com/ [thuzi.com].

      Was Thuzi contracted by Facebook to perform this vote? Why would they be? Thuzi appears to be some sort of online social media marketing firm. Looks fishy to me.

      I did some further digging and on the Facebook legal terms & conditions page I found a reference to the Facebook Site Governance page, so it appears to be legitimate.

    • by Jerslan (1088525)
      A google search showed me that apparently they publish their Facebook API's to GitHub... Link [github.com]

      Doesn't make it any less fishy, but it's more info about them...
  • In a way, to (pretend to) hold voting on privacy changes is a new method for companies to move their customers at a pace that the majority are willing to accept. call it social mass manipulation, but it might be the wave of our future.
  • George W. Bush: A. Great President B. Greatest President ... I await your answer.
  • The vote isn't even recognized unless 30% of all Facebook users vote.
    http://blog.facebook.com/blog.php?post=76815337130 [facebook.com]

    30% of 1 billion = 300 Million
    So 300 million people have to vote for them to even consider the results.
    Good luck. This vote is just for show.

    • by ironicsky (569792)
      I came here to say that, and you are correct. If Facebook wanted to give it an effort, they would have messaged every user, put it as a sticky at the top of the time line, or some other sort of pop-up bubble, like they do when they announce new features. The only way you learn about Facebook Governance, Security, or other things of interest is if you purposely seek them out. Off topic, but did you know you can sign up for a special "hacking account" where the sole purpose is to try and break Facebook's sec
  • by conspirator23 (207097) on Tuesday December 04, 2012 @01:49PM (#42181331)

    There is nothing about the current FB process that contains any true accountability. This is a marketing exercise designed to give the noisiest contingent of FB users something they can do to create the illusion that they have a voice. Consider:

    1. The current voting process has a minimum participation requirement for decisions to be binding. This participation threshold has never been met.
    2. One of the changes being voted for is doing away with the voting system.

    This is how it's going to play out: Facebook is going to work harder and harder to monetize the details of your personal life until somebody powerful and/or well-loved by the public is burned by their behavior, a la Gen. Petraues. Then there will be legislation to curb the powers of private entities like Facebook as a knee-jerk reaction. That is what a real "messy democracy" looks like.

  • Forget that! I just want to turn off the *()^%$! Places map in the timeline.
  • At least there isn't an electoral college involved.

  • Ok, let's stop to consider this for a moment. 30% of the Facebook subscriber base needs to participate if the measure is to pass. What's the liklihood of that happening if:

    (1) A significant percentage of all FB subscribers are spambots (estimated at 6-10% - http://www.insidefacebook.com/category/spam-2/ [insidefacebook.com] )

    (2) The average turnout of a normal adult voting population for US elections is ~50% (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Voter_turnout)

    (3) There is a gap between "all users" and "monthly active users" - hard t

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