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Facebook to put new privacy policies to the vote

04 Dec 2012

Facebook has opened up voting for users to weigh in on the social network's latest privacy changes.

The vote follows a recent Facebook announcement that promised to end the social network's open ended voting system. Users will now get the chance to vote on Facebook's new Data Use Policy (DUP) and Statement of Rights and Responsibilities (SRR) policies.

"Today we are also announcing the next step in our site governance process - a vote on our proposed changes to both documents, including our additional clarifications to the DUP," said Facebook vice president of communications, public policy and marketing Elliot Schrage in a blog post.

"Voting will be facilitated by an application developed on Facebook Platform by a third-party service provider. An independent auditor will examine the vote tabulation to further ensure accurate results."

If 30 percent of active Facebook users vote the results will be binding. Facebook says that anything less than 30 percent voter turn out will only be used in an advisory capacity. Users only have until 8pm GMT on Monday 10 December to cast their vote.

Among the changes up for a vote is Facebook's decision to allow for the sharing of user data between Instagram and Facebook. Facebook bought the online photo-sharing firm earlier this year.

Some advocacy groups have raised concerns about the converging of the two platform's data. The Electronic Privacy Information Center and Center for Digital Democracy recently wrote a joint letter to Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg about the proposals.

The letter specifically pointed to a similar consolidation that Google attempted earlier this year. Google's refashioned privacy system made users share data between all of its services without offering a opt-out option.

Google's consolidation resulted in backlash from a variety of governmental bodies.

"Facebook's decision to combine personal information from Facebook and Instagram raises privacy issues," the groups wrote.

"Earlier this year, a similar data consolidation by Google prompted objections from privacy organisations, members of Congress, European data protection authorities, and IT managers in the government and private sectors."

Facebook's decision to update its policies comes following a recent Federal Trade Commission (FTC) lawsuit. The social network settled with the FTC on the case in August, agreeing to strengthen its privacy policies.

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James Dohnert

James is a freelance writer and editor. In addition to ClickZ, his work has appeared in publications like V3, The Commonwealth Club,, and Shonen Jump magazine. He studied Journalism at Weber State University.

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