Analysts debate effect of Facebook's policy changes on users
As Facebook pushes users out of the decision-making loop, what's it mean?
Facebook previously had a rule that any of its proposed policy changes that attracted 7,000 "substantive" comments would be put to a vote. That will no longer be the case.
"In the past, your substantive feedback has led to changes to the proposals we made," Facebook said in a post. "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."
The move first propelled the Data Protection Commissioner in Ireland, where Facebook's European Union headquarters is situated, to contact the social network for a clarification of its position.
On Tuesday, the Electronic Privacy Information Center and the Center for Digital Democracy teamed up to ask Facebook to withdraw the changes, saying that users have a right to participate in Facebook's governance.
On the heels of Facebook's announcement last week, a rampant "Facebook copyright" hoax made its way across the social network. The hoax seemed to build on users' privacy fears.
Patrick Moorhead, an analyst with Moor Insights & Strategy, called this latest move another example of Facebook's "messing" with its users.
"Facebook got in way too deep by making a commitment they couldn't or didn't want to keep," Moorhead said. "I don't believe too many users even knew they had a voting system, but that's missing the point. It's the principle of the matter, which is about consistency of service."
Moorhead also noted that if Facebook goes through with the policy change, it will be bad news for users over the long haul, leaving them without a "democratic mechanism" to air any grievances.
However, Dan Olds, an analyst with The Gabriel Consulting Group, said, the proposed change may not be as bad as it seems.
"Heavily involved Facebook users are sure to take umbrage with what seems, on the surface, to be a sharp slap in the face," Old said. "But I have to say that I think maybe Facebook has a point here. The voting policy was written when the site was much smaller. Now that they're pushing a billion members, the initial voting numbers don't make a lot of sense."
For example, Olds noted that it only takes 7,000 users to force a vote on a Facebook privacy issue. With more than 1 billion worldwide users, that is one thousandth of 1% of total users.
- 15 Non-Certified IT Skills Growing in Demand
- How 19 Tech Titans Target Healthcare
- Twitter Suffering From Growing Pains (and Facebook Comparisons)
- Agile Comes to Data Integration
- Slideshow: 7 security mistakes people make with their mobile device
- iOS vs. Android: Which is more secure?
- 11 sure signs you've been hacked
- The Business of Social Business Social business represents a significant transformational opportunity for organizations. Read this whitepaper to learn more.
- Pay-as-you-Grow Data Protection: IBM Tivoli's Full-featured Data Protection Suite for Small to Medium Businesses IBM Tivoli Storage Manager Suite for Unified Recovery gives small and medium businesses the opportunity to start out with only the individual solutions...
- Streamline Data Protection with IBM Tivoli Storage Manager Operations Center IBM Tivoli Storage Manager (TSM) has been an industry-standard data protection solution for two decades. But, where most competitors focus exclusively on Backup...
- Simplify and Consolidate Data Protection for Better Business Results Learn about IBM® Tivoli® Storage Manager Operations Center, which provides advanced visualization, built-in analytics and integrated workflow automation features that leapfrog traditional backup...
- Meg Whitman presents Unlocking IT with Big Data During this Web Event you will hear Meg Whitman, President and CEO, HP discuss HAVEn - the #1 Big Data platform, as well...
- The New Way to Work Knowledge Vault This Knowledge Vault focuses on how, in today's increasingly virtual world, it's more important than ever to engage deeply with employees, suppliers, partners,... All Social Media White Papers | Webcasts