Facebook Proposes Updates To Privacy Policy Documents, Blocks User Voting Mechanism

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Facebook has revealed its proposed updates to its site governance documents over privacy policies.

Elliot Schrage, VP of Communications, Public Policy and Marketing at Facebook, revealed today the social network’s proposal to make some changes on two documents that govern its site.

With nearly one billion users, Facebook has been the center of scrutiny of privacy groups because of its perfunctory implementation of user privacy.

In 2009, the firm launched a voting mechanism to gain user feedback and engage personal views to its governing policies.

Facebook now proposes to end the voting mechanism on changes to its privacy policies, but says it will continue to provide one week for reviews and comments on changes to its Data Use Policy and Statement of Rights and Responsibilities (SRR).

Part of the proposed updates includes a new feature on its Facebook and Privacy Page allows users to ask privacy questions to Erin Egan, Chief Privacy Officer of Policy, Facebook, who will host regular webcasts to answer questions.

Proposals for Data Use Policy include new tools for Facebook Messages, instant personalization, visibility reminders and tips to manage Timeline.

Facebook Proposes Updates To Privacy Policy Documents

Schrage’s full statement reads,

Today we are proposing some updates to two documents which govern our site: our Data Use Policy, which explains how we collect and use data when people use Facebook, and our Statement of Rights and Responsibilities (SRR), which explains the terms governing the use of our services. These updates provide more detailed information about our practices, reflect changes to our products, and improve how we conduct our site governance process.

Improving the Site Governance Process: Our goal has always been to find ways to effectively engage your views when we propose changes to our governing policies. That commitment guided our decision in 2009 to launch an unprecedented process for user feedback. When we held our second global site governance vote in June, we indicated that we would review our site governance process in light of the growth of both our community – to over one billion users – and our company – which is now publicly traded and accountable to regulators around the world. Our intention was to make sure the process still served its original purpose.

As a result of this review, we are proposing to restructure our site governance process. We deeply value the feedback we receive from you during our comment period. In the past, your substantive feedback has led to changes to the proposals we made. However, 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. Therefore, we’re proposing to end the voting component of the process in favor of a system that leads to more meaningful feedback and engagement.

We will continue to post significant changes to our Data Use Policy and SRR and provide a seven-day period for review and comment. As always, we will carefully consider your feedback before adopting any changes. We will also provide additional notification mechanisms, including email, for informing you of those changes. In the coming weeks, we will roll out new ways of responding to your questions and comments about Facebook. These include:

  • Ask the Chief Privacy Officer. We’ll be launching a new feature on our Facebook and Privacy Page to let you submit questions about privacy to our Chief Privacy Officer of Policy, Erin Egan.
  • Facebook Live Events. Erin Egan will host webcasts on a regular basis to address your comments and questions about privacy, safety and security.

Other Proposed Updates: The Data Use Policy also includes updates that provide more descriptions about our practices and reflect changes to our products, including:

  • New tools for managing your Facebook Messages – replacing the “Who can send you Facebook messages” setting with new filters for managing incoming messages.
  • Changes to how we refer to certain products, like instant personalization.
  • Reminders about what’s visible to other people on Facebook. For instance, when you hide things from your timeline, those posts are visible elsewhere, like in news feed, on other people’s timelines, or in search results.
  • Tips on managing your timeline. For example, you can use tools on your timeline or activity log to delete your own posts, or you can ask someone else to delete a post in which you’re tagged.

We encourage you to read through all the proposed changes under the “Documents” tab of our Site Governance Page. You have a chance to review and comment on these changes before we adopt them. Please leave any comments by 9:00 AM PST on November 28, 2012.

Once the comment period is over, we will be hosting a Facebook Live where Erin Egan, our Chief Privacy Officer of Policy, will respond to your comments live. Please like or follow the Site Governance Page for more details.

Thank you again for continuing to be a part of this process and helping us shape the Facebook community.


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Author: Francis Rey

Francis is a voracious reader and prolific writer. His work appears on SocialBarrel.com and several other websites, covering social media, technology and other niches.

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