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back to article Facebook changes data-use policy despite 87% poll opposition

Facebook has ignored a vote "cast" by 297,883 of its members who agreed that the social network shouldn't update its data use policy. Despite that, the company is amending its rules on the way it slurps data from its users for the purposes of advertising - a move that comes in the wake of the Irish data protection commissioner's …

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Anonymous Coward

and people wonder...

... why I'm not on farcebunk.

There's your answer, folks. Oh, and their "security", or apparent lack thereof, over the years.

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Re: and people wonder...

I love farcebunk. I use it to tell all my friends about my new Halfraud purchases, on my Micro$$haft computer.

I bet that made my argument look mature and well reasoned.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: and people wonder...

No likey? Then No Like'y ... people should just "voter avec vos pieds"

I'm not on Facebroke either but my ancient stuffed toy bear is.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: and people wonder...

Congrats - 6 minutes between the news being posted and the first poster telling everyone they don't use facebook. Must be a new record.

Here's a thought - no-one cares if you do or don't use it.

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JDX
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Re: and people wonder...

>>There's your answer, folks.

Maybe one day you'll run a company. On that day you'll realise by about 0945 that it's your job to decide what your company does, not your users' job to run your company by democracy.

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@JDX

Nice try...but bunk.

If Farcebook puts out a "poll" to ask users what they want, and it gets an answer THEY don't want to hear, then too bad.

The fact that only a small majority of users bothered to vote is significant, in that it may, or may not, represent other user's opinions, so Farcebook probably should ignore the results this time.

BUT...had a MAJORITY of the 900,000,000 losers who use Farcebook voted against the changes...Farcebook would have been bound by THEIR poll...as long as they had not hidden language to the contrary deep inside the poll EULA. Which, chances are, there was anyway.

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@JDX

Maybe one day you'll run a company and realise that if you piss off enough of your customers by ignoring what they want and saying "Dear customers, we don't give a fuck what you think!", they'll go somewhere else and you won't *have* a company any more.

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Anonymous Coward

I feel vindicated, I said it would happen lik this and it has, Facebook just keeps on shafting.

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@Graham Marsden

Pissing off enough of your customers is a bad idea. However, if you have 900,000,000 customers and you piss off about 298,000 of them, you're doing a reasonable job. Or do you think that significantly less than 0.5% of your customers actively saying "no" should be setting alarm bells ringing?

I don't like Facebook but your argument is weak, to say the least.

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Meh

Re: @Graham Marsden

Also, Mr. Aardvark

I wish people would get used to the fact that facebook users are the PRODUCT of facebook and NOT the "customer"

Facbook (Google, Microsoft, Apple etc) are in business to make money for the shareholders, they don't really care about the "user" (if they did, Microsoft wouldnt be foisting Metro on the desktop, Google wouldnt be foisting G+ on everyone and Apple wouldnt be doing whatever it is they are doing today)

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Boffin

Invidious Aardvark

It's clear that you don't run a business either.

One complaint may be a lone nutcase, ten complaints suggests that there's actually going to be a *lot* more people out there who aren't happy, but haven't put finger to keyboard to say so., however none the less that should most certainly set alarm bells ringing and not simply generate an attitude of "well, it's only a few people, let's just ignore them" because if (and when) they're offered a better alternative, they're likely to desert your business in droves.

Your understanding of how such things work is weak.

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Anonymous Coward

2.2 million

So if everyone who likes the page voted they would still fall short by 298 million voters.

So basically the whole thing is a total sham and FB can do what ever they like to their policies if they keep this criteria in place.

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Re: 2.2 million

Don't forget the inactive users have to vote as well!

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Black Helicopters

never forget

Zuck: Yeah so if you ever need info about anyone at Harvard

Zuck: Just ask.

Zuck: I have over 4,000 emails, pictures, addresses, SNS

[Redacted Friend's Name]: What? How’d you manage that one?

Zuck: People just submitted it.

Zuck: I don’t know why.

Zuck: They “trust me”

Zuck: Dumb fucks.

http://venturebeat.com/2010/05/13/zuckerberg-dumb-fucks/

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jai
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Like... to be notified of further updates.....

So, you have to "Like" the announcement that they've steamrollered over everyone's opinions, in order to be told about the next time they plan to ignore public opinion.

What's the betting that they then turn around and say "Well we have 3 million likes, so obviously people agree with us!"

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Stop

Re: Like... to be notified of further updates.....

Except that you'd be liking the page on which such decisions and votes are publicized, and not the result itself

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thats democracy

bitch

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Re: thats democracy

So how about if a political candidate can't get 30% of the population to vote for them then they don't get into office. Sounds like a mandate for political change given how in 2008 only 56.8% of people voted at all.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: thats democracy

I'd rather see a test of statistical significance - compute the error bars on the votes, based upon sample size (# voters relative to # potential voters) and sampling error (every vote counted 100% accurately is a nice goal, but unachievable). If the winner lacks a statistically significant plurality, then reject ALL the candidates and start a fresh round of the election with new candidates - see you in six weeks. That would help stop this "Party A's guy is crap, Party B's guy is crap, its a question of who is less crap." Few vote, high margin of error, try again.

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Shoddy

The vote was poorly publicised and the proposed changes were extremely difficult to find. Add to that the requirement for 30% of the user population to vote before they had to take notice, and it is clear that the whole thing was a sham.

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Anonymous Coward

They did the maths

Their policy states that a 30% vote is required to reverse the decision. Even 10% might have worried them. With just 0.04% against, they can afford to ignore the expressed vote. And why not? If you really give a shit about privacy, you won't be on Facebook.

And, if you want to organise opposition to a Facebook policy, you'll have to do it through Twitter

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Eh?

Did I read this right?

Users provide stacks of personal information to an advertising business then complain about the targeted ads.

Weird.

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providing extensive notice through users’ news feeds and desktop and mobile advertisements

not mine

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Anonymous Coward

Strange

With that many votes, it's almost as iff there aren't 900 million users at all! It's almost as if the infalted figure is being used to hype the price of the shares and at the same time make it impossible for people to vote down changes they don't like.

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JDX
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Re: Strange

I very much believe there are at least 100mn active users. It's ubiquitous.

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Good luck with that

Facebook will do what Facebook wants to do. Given that their business is about harvesting personal data to sell targetted advertising space to advertisers there is NO WAY they're going to make new users opt out by default.

It's clear that the UI and settings are designed to maximize data gathering and only grudgingly provide switches to disable functions. Even then the links to improve security are often buried or presented in a way to discourage their use.

The only way to win the game is not play at all, or if you must at least have some sense about how you use these services. Use a 'nym or failing that restrict the data you feed it with and spend as much time as possible locking it down as far as it will go.

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Happy

Re: Good luck with that

In all honesty, I did *just* that, in 2008, and somehow the security locks were set in perpetuity through one of the many layout changes: I couldn't open my account and make it public if I wanted to. I've thought about getting in touch with FB to get that straightened out.. but in hindsight maybe not.

Cool.

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Anonymous Coward

You report that Facebook has amended its data-slurping rules

But _WHAT_ are those changes? Are they significant? I realise that this was primarily an article about whinging FB users, but even there some context is needed to keep it from being pointless.

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Re: You report that Facebook has amended its data-slurping rules

How can I put this without sounding like an ass....

It's Facebook(R)(TM)(C) = it's pointless.

But I do agree that the gist of the poll question would have helped...piss of the SEC even more.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: You report that Facebook has amended its data-slurping rules

"How can I put this without sounding like an ass..."

Nope, failed.

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FAIL

Vote? What vote?

I didn't hear about a vote.

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Is 30% actually every single person on facebook? Since you know... most people seem to have 2 accounts, then a company has their own account etc etc

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Happy

Future protestors need to go Old Skool.

Pwn the dormant accounts and vote the dead!

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Vote early, vote often?

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Most users don't care

I believe most users don't care about it. Some more might if someone sat down and spent time explaining the implications, but that won't happen. People are lazy, and if the effects are not immediate and major, they won't care. I would say to a large extent, the same is true about government.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Most users don't care

good old democracy rulez, eh? Majority don't care, so they deserve what they get. And those that do care? You subscribed to a this business model, you "liked" it, so get a grip, think of England, or something.

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JDX
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Re: Most users don't care

Why do you think FB is supposed to be a democracy in the first place?

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Megaphone

Censorship alive and well at the Book of Face

I shared on my FB status that you (El Reg) and My Yahoo! were reporting on the "vote". My comment went something like, "Um. I had not heard about this Privacy Policy vote until today via The Register and My Yahoo!, after it was held. No post on my wall. No splash on login to FB. No email. But it sounds like those who heard about it voted against it. Where's my 'Dislike' button? Oh, yeah; it's to stop using FB. Hmm."

I say "something like this" because I just got *this* note from a friend, "Fascinating. The post you put up to the article criticising FBs privacy policy, which I shared, has mysteriously disappeared from both of our walls. Coincidence?"

Indeed, no sign of my post. Nor my friend's.

Love that censorship stuff.

-∇

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Re: Censorship alive and well at the Book of Face

The Internet: where everything you don't agree with is either "censorship" or "vandalism".

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Re: Censorship alive and well at the Book of Face

And my post just came back. Bug? Censorship? Since I do aspire to "never attribute to malice that which instead can be shown as stupidity", I'll assume it is a bug.

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Re: Censorship alive and well at the Book of Face

If indeed FB removed my post and my friend's without warning then it was censorship. If it was a bug - since my post just reappeared - then it was just a case of untested software.

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Windows

I must be having a stupid day today...

But he described the 297,833 people who voted against the proposal as an "unrepresentative percentage of our user community." He said a total of 342,632 people cast a vote on the site.

-Erm? He's learnt the basics of US democracy!! Head, meet sand.

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Facepalm

Just a reminder....to those who think FB owes them any explanations....

Those who CHOOSE to provide FB with their data/time are under zero obligation to continue using the product. FB is now a publicly traded company and thus is even more in the business of making MONEY.

Unless your ready to pay a monthly membership fee.....then you need to ACCEPT your trading access to you and the collective pool.... by marketing sharks.....and to have the ability to "LIKE" virtual stuff and collect "Friends".

Some twits really need to wake up the reality that FB users are just assets to be sold access too.

Wake up you followers/weak minded fools.

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Facepalm

300,000,000 no votes required

I will eat my chair if that many unique people logged into facebook this month, or hell even this year. I'm guessing that a large fraction of their 900,000,00 "users" signed up, maybe even came back a few times in an effort to get something useful out of it, but totally abandoned it in quick order. Even if that still leaves more than 300,000,000 active users, even being generous with the definition of active, if you have someone who logs in once a month, could they even have found out about the poll in time to actually vote on it? And then once you cull all the accounts for people's pets and house plants that they set up to game the games with, you basically would need something over 100% of actual individual people who logged in last month to take the time to engage in the poll for facebook to even need to start thinking about a plausible way to ignore the whole thing. As it is now, they just say that's nice lessons learned onwards and upwards, and as it shall ever be.

Who cares anyway! I actually went and looked into it, and considering you basically have no privacy on facebook to start with, the changes they are putting forward don't really seem to give you any less privacy. I didn't even bother voting. Now I'm ashamed I even wasted the time on it, let alone coming out here and admitting to it. Now I'm off to do something else maybe even more mindless and hope it all fades away...

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Since when does the product have a say?

On a farm, even Farmville, the sheep get no vote. The farmer and his customers have the say.

On the supermarket shelves the baked beans don't have a say. Only the supermarket and the customers do.

On FB, *you* are the product. Why should anyone listen to you?

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Stop

Re: Since when does the product have a say?

Actually, having done design work for supermarkets in my dim and distant past, I can tell you that the product - or at least the product manufacturer - does indeed have a say.

For example, if a supermarket wants to stock Heinz baked beans, then they put in an order to Heinz or their appointed distributor for a wholesale consignment of cans of beans. A representative from Heinz then comes out to the supermarket and discusses with the management team concerning the most appropriate display and presentation for the product.

The Heinz rep will want to know in which aisle the beans are to be placed, how the cans are to be stacked (e.g. placed with a certain side of the label facing out, cans to be stacked so many high, etc) and also organise the positioning of any product-specific display stands, gondolas, promotional posters,and so on. Only when both the supermarket management and the Heinz rep are in agreement on product presentation and display will Heinz then ship the first consignment to that supermarket.

If you've ever stood at the cigarette / service counter of a supermarket, you may have noticed a clipboard on the counter with sign-in/sign-out sheets for the representatives of various product manufacturers. These reps visit the supermarket regularly to ensure their product is being displayed as per agreed specifications, check that the product hasn't been tampered with, all units are still within use-by date, and to provide updated promotional materials. So the manufacturer has a definite say in how the product is presented and sold in the supermarket.

To return to the Facebook analogy, then, the user is NOT the product. The product is the user's personal data, which is what Facebook sells to advertisers; the user in this case is the product manufacturer. And just as Heinz et. al. have the right to say how their product is to be presented and sold by supermarkets, I claim the right to a say in how my product - the data I provide - is presented and sold by Facebook.

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Happy

Nothing is True

Except for my name, everything FB think they know about me is false to a greater or lesser degree - actually even my name is not 100% accurate.

They can do what they like with the information they collect - they are just wasting their time.

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Big Brother

Case for DISLIKE option

People probably LIKE the idea of revealing the privacy policies and have no way to say they DISLIKE what those policies actually are--and Facebook doesn't care. Just came across a very relevant quote:

"Givers have to set limits because takers rarely do." -- Irma Kurtz

Don't know who she is, but she certainly hit the nail on the head. In this particular example, Facebook will take as much data as they can get, and you can bet their ToS says that nothing bad is their fault. After all, that's what lawyers are for. In America, this situation is that the richest 1% is the takers, and they obviously have no limits on what they want to take--and after this election in November, I predict they will have none.

"Elect me so that government of the corporations, by the lawyers, for the richest 0.1% of Americans, shall rule the earth." -- attributed to Mitt Romney

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FAIL

FB can push as many ads at me as they like..

I can't remember the last one I saw. I look to the left of the screen not the crap on the right.

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Boffin

Re: FB can push as many ads at me as they like..

I can look at the right hand side of the screen too, but I don't see anything since I installed AdBlock Plus!

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