Facebook Users Vote on Privacy Policy

On July 16, 2012, wrote:

Facebook users recently had the opportunity to vote on matters related to Facebook privacy.

Held via the Facebook Site Governance page, this was not a new venture for the social network. In the past, Facebook allowed its users to vote on their privacy policy. In 2009, users were given the opportunity to vote on company policies, but back then, Facebook was much smaller, with only about 200 million users compared to today’s (nearly) one billion.

What are users voting on exactly?

Facebook discussed these changes back in May and has since let their users vote as to whether or not the privacy policy was placed into effect.

First, the new documents state that Facebook will post all of your information publicly, including your profile picture, gender, and cover photo. These documents also discuss what information Facebook can collect from you as well as how Facebook uses all of this information they collect from you. It also discusses what other people can post about you.

The new privacy policy also includes information as to how people can find you or your information using Facebook; how other sites, apps, and plug-ins can gain your information; and even how to contact Facebook when you have issues.

What do these votes mean?

In order for the process to work and be considered binding, 30 percent of current Facebook users, which comes out to 270 million people, needed to vote either for or against the changes. If they didn’t reach this number of votes, the vote wouldn’t have any bearing on the company’s decision. If they reached 270 million votes, the privacy policy would either go or not go into effect based on the highest number of results.

But most people didn’t think Facebook will receive its 270 million votes. First, the voting was not highly publicized, so most users did not know that it even took place. Second, many Facebook users have already been irritated with the social network. Facebook is currently under scrutiny due to a failed attempt at making the company an IPO. They offered the public the opportunity to buy stock in Facebook for $38. After it was all said and done, the stock closed at $38.23. Two weeks later, the stock dropped 26 percent.

On top of the lack of publicity and failed IPO, Facebook has always been criticized for its changes to the social network. People enjoy protecting their privacy, and if Facebook continues to make changes, especially those that claim it will make user information public, it’s only going to upset more and more people, which will force them to possibly stop using the network altogether.

The turnout of the vote proved to be a flop. Only 0.038% – or about one in every 2,600 Facebook users – actually cast a vote on the privacy changes.

About the author: Patty Rogers is a writer and SEO consultant.  She likes to write in a clear and concise manner.


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