Now you can vote on Facebook’s privacy changes


More than 240 million Facebook users must vote on the changes for the decision to be binding.

Do you always complain when Facebook changes its privacy settings? Next time, you may have no one to blame but yourself.

Starting today, Facebook will let users vote on its new data policy. The proposed changes would allow Facebook to show ads on external sites based on users’ Facebook activity, not unlike Google AdWords. Voting ends on June 8, 2012.

At least 30 percent of active registered users, or roughly 240 million people, must participate in the vote for the decision to be binding. Otherwise, the voting results will merely be advisory. As of this writing, users were in favor of keeping the old policy by a margin of 804 to 577.

That vote total, it’s fair to say, falls well shy of 240 million.

Facebook has put proposed changes up to a vote in the past, but this decision was triggered in part by a campaign created by Max Schrem, founder of Europe vs. Facebook.

Facebook told Schrem that if he could convince over 7,000 users to comment on a post describing proposed policy changes, then the social network would put the changes up to a vote. Schrem succeeded. More than 47,000 have commented.

Schrem’s is not entirely satisfied with the move, however. In a blog post, he wrote:

“Facebook’s vote mechanism seems to be absurd: The vote will only be binding if 30% of all worldwide users take part within 7 days. …  Facebook is not at all informing users about the vote so far. It seems they are hoping that no one will know about this. Facebook also ignores the fact that we proposed individual changes. Users can now only vote for the new or the old privacy policy.”

For more on the vote, read Facebook Communications VP Elliott Shrage’s full blog post.

13 million Americans never have never touched their Facebook privacy settings
That comes out to about 7 percent of the social networks population.
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