via Graham Cluley at SOPHOS Is Facebook Guilty Of Vote Fixing?
It comes as no surprise that Facebook’s proposed changes to its Data Use Policy and Statement of Rights and Responsibilities are now going ahead. Or that only 0.038% of its users voted on them. We reveal how its VP of Communications and Public Policy appears to blame its users for not bothering to vote, despite his decision to communicate it only to 3 million users. And as site users have seen all manner of Timeline notifications including instructional videos on its home page, and banners saying ‘Get Timeline’ atop their profile walls, we question whether Facebook held a vote which was “unethical”, when it could have informed its 900 million users about it far more effectively than via status updates to two of its pages.
So why was there a vote? A group called Europe vs Facebook prompted the Irish Data Protection Commissioner to investigate Facebook’s data handling practises, which fell short of EU (European Union) laws. The IDPC recommended that Facebook change its terms and data use policies. Facebook did so, but they were rejected by its users for still not conforming to EU laws. This prompted a vote where Facebook would provide alternatives, which would be binding if more than 30% of all active registered users voted. (For the record the only alternative Facebook provided to its proposed changes, was the existing policy which Facebook had been advised to change). The sites terms advise users to become a fan of its Site Governance page in order to receive notice about proposed changes.
Facebook has approximately 900 million active registered users, meaning 300 million would need to vote in order to reach Facebook’s 30% target. But it only posted status updates about the proposed changes to its Site Governance and Facebook and Privacy pages, which have just 3 million fans between them. Not surprising the vote ended with just 342,632 votes cast. Approximately 0.11% of the 300 million ’30%’ target.