Friday, November 23, 2012

Facebook is Changing their Privacy Notice and They Want Your Feedback (No, Really!)

Did you get an email from Facebook about some changes to their privacy notice earlier this week? Did you delete it? And when they implement the proposed changes, are you going to take to Facebook, or better yet, Twitter, to whine and moan about said changes and how you weren't informed and isn't this just like Facebook to manipulate the platform we are all using for free without consulting the BILLION people using it?

Yeah, you might want to read this first.

What's Changing?

Here's the low-down: Facebook is making changes to the Privacy notice and they are asking for feedback. It's a bit lengthy to read through the notices, especially considering you probably didn't read them the first time (you remember, when you quickly clicked "I accept" to get the window closed so that you could proceed to create your account?). And they aren't making things any easier, because there are no tracked changes on the new notice; nothing to indicate where the changes are within the body of the document.

Thankfully, there are geeks in this world who would be more than happy to do the work for you. Here is a tracked changes version of the changes to the Statement of Rights and Responsibilities and one containing the changes to the Data Use Policy. A lot of the changes to the docs seem to be retrofitting the notices to catch up to some of the functionality added to Facebook since they were last updated. Then there are the two items that people are picking up on in the blogosphere:
  • the addition of an Affiliate mention in the context of sharing data (which people assume has to do with the acquisition of Instagram) and 
  • the discontinuation of member voting for changes such as these proposed amendments to the privacy notices. 
Apparently if you want to provide feedback, it's not as easy as voting on a poll, which is what they used the last time they did a major update. (More on that on Silicon Republic) Facebook insists that it's hard to get a representative sample when you have a BILLION users. So now, instead of aiming for quantity, they are aiming for quality. Yeah, because it's always the level-headed majority and never the opinionated minority who take the time to comment on such things. Riiight.

Have your Say

The posting on the Facebook Site Governance page states:
We are proposing updates to our Data Use Policy and Statement of Rights and Responsibilities to, among other things, restructure our site governance process. Please review the updates under the “Documents” tab of our Site Governance Page and leave comments by 9:00 AM PST on November 28, 2012. Remember, substantive and relevant comments about specific changes help us evaluate a proposal.
Yup, you have (less than) 7 days to provide feedback. Better get cracking. Here's how:
So there you go. You are now aware of the privacy changes. When the changes take effect, you can't complain about it. (And if you do, I promise that I will tweet or post on your wall a link back to this post.)

Question is, will you take the time to sift through them and provide feedback? Will I? (It's Friday, and I am somewhat paranoid about privacy, so the answer is maybe :) 

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