Privacy Groups Slam Facebook Over Plan To Ditch Voting

Now Facebook wants to limit your rights to who can connect with you so they have another way to sell advertising.

Last week Facebook announced that it wanted to do away with its the current process where Facebook users could vote on proposed privacy and usage policy changes. On Tuesday the Electronic Privacy Information Center and the Center for Digital Democracy sent Facebook a letter explaining why Facebook’s new plan was not a good idea.

The letter reminds Zuckerberg of Facebook’s settlement with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). The letter is carbon copied to the chairman and commissioners of the FTC, as well as key members of the US Congress.

The day before Thanksgiving, Facebook proposed doing away with a voting system it put in place in 2009, which let users vote on pending changes to the site’s terms of service. “We found that the voting mechanism, which is triggered by a specific number of comments, actually resulted in a system that incentivized the quantity of comments over their quality,” said Elliot Schrage, Facebook’s vice president of communications, public policy, and marketing.

Many see the changes proposed by Facebook as part of a marketing plan that is more worried about profits than privacy. Granted, Facebook is a business with a goal of making a profit.

Earlier this year they began to throttle the feeds from Facebook fan pages and then offered promoted posts as a way to sell the access to more of your fans.

Now Facebook wants to limit your rights to who can connect with you so they have another way to sell advertising. As the privacy groups explain in their letter, removing the ability to prevent strangers from sending unwanted messages will likely increase the amount of unsolicited messages that users receive. These unsolicited messages are new potential advertising revenue for Facebook.

It appears that Facebook users will get the chance to vote on these changes, after all. Since the post has gained a substantial amount of comments (more than 19,000 from greater than 7,000 users), Facebook will soon open up a seven-day voting period, allowing users to make their voices heard. However, it will again take 30 percent of Facebook’s roughly 1 billion-strong population to stop the changes.

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