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.
- Why Projects Fail CIOs are expected to deliver more projects that transform business, and do so on time, on budget and with limited resources.
- The New Business Case for Video Conferencing: 7 Real-World Benefits Beyond Cost-Savings This whitepaper provides insight into the value of video conferencing in today's business environment, and how organizations are using visual collaboration to find...
- Gartner Magic Quadrant for Client Management Tools The client management tool market is maturing and evolving to adapt to consumerization, desktop virtualization, and an ongoing need to improve efficiency.
- Audit Ready and Asset Optimized: The Solid Promise of an Intelligent Software Asset Management Solution In this paper Frost & Sullivan examines the benefits of enterprise-grade Software Asset Management solutions, and how these solutions serve as the convergence...
- LIVE EVENT: 5/7, The End of Data Protection As We Know It. Introducing a Next Generation Data Protection Architecture. Traditional backup is going away, but where does this leave end-users?
- On-demand webinar: "Mobility Mayhem: Balancing BYOD with Enterprise Security" Check out this on-demand webinar to hear Sophos senior security expert John Shier deep dive into how BYOD impacts your enterprise security strategy... All Social Media White Papers | Webcasts