Facebook privacy: vote now or forever hold your peace


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Now is probably your last chance to vote on whether you dislike Facebook’s new privacy changes. You’re voting on your right to vote in the future, as well as several other important proposed changes that won’t be good for your privacy. (Want the details about what’s changing? We read the fine print and explain the 5 biggest changes here.)

If you were one of those people who posted that status update that you “hereby declare that [your] copyright is attached to all your personal details,” or you know people who posted it, here’s your chance to do something that actually could affect your privacy rights on Facebook. And no, simply complaining in a status update that you don’t authorize Facebook to use your data isn’t going to do anything to protect you.

To protect your privacy and prevent Facebook from expanding the network of advertisers and other companies with whom it shares your personal information, we recommend voting to keep the existing documents. You have from now until December 10, 2012 to vote. We’ll show you exactly how to cast your vote in the step-by-step process below. 

Note that the results of the vote won’t be binding unless at least 30% of Facebook’s over 1 billion members participate. That’s over 300 million votes, and it gets even messier when you consider all the people who signed up for an account and never use it, or spammers who make dozens of fake accounts to carry out identity theft and fraud. Plus Facebook doesn’t make the vote obvious by posting it on everyone’s home feed: it’s tucked away on a hardly-known page called Facebook Site Governance.

How to vote against Facebook’s anti-privacy changes:

Step 1: Log in to Facebook.

Step 2: Go to the Facebook Site Governance page at https://www.facebook.com/fbsitegovernance

Step 3: Click on the “Site Governance Vote” tab. It looks like this:

Step 4: Clicking on the tab will open a pop-up that prompts you to “Log in with Facebook to vote.” Authorize by clicking the blue button. (And Facebook already knows everything about you, so while you should think twice before signing into other sites with Facebook or authorizing apps to use your Facebook data, you’re not losing anything by doing so here.)

Step 5: A page will open titled “About the Vote.” Click on the green “Vote” button to continue.

Step 6: You’ll be taken to a new page where you’ll see the proposed policy changes and be able to cast your vote. Based on the privacy threats we outline, we urge you to vote for the existing documents. And now’s also a good time to use Facebook’s sharing functionality to get the word out to your friends!

Step 7: You’re done! You’ll see a chart showing you how people have voted so far, as well as the number of people who’ve participated.

In all likelihood we’ll never get 300 million votes, but let’s not go down without a fight: let’s use the last public vote on Facebook to make it clear that we don’t want these changes and that we aren’t okay with Facebook harvesting our personal information.

18 Replies to “Facebook privacy: vote now or forever hold your peace”

  1. Nancy Simon says:

    https://www.facebook.com/fbsitegovernance/app_531615603522381….site just says “Loading….” and won’t go further. Will it help to just dump the Facebook account with my name?

    • Nancy Simon says:

      LIBERATION IS COMPLETE…after much hoop jumping, I deactivated & deleted my account (which will take 2 weeks to accomplish?) huh? After downloading a copy of everything Facebook has collected about me (they still keep stuff), I first deactivated my account then returned to DELETE MY ACCOUNT. Every task is hidden and difficult to complete – red flag that I don’t want to be there! Adios.

  2. Ken Ferris says:

    I smell a rat, I can’t vote.Keep getting a message that there’s an error and to re-load the app.Tried many times now.

    • Scott says:

      Ha, neither can I. Are you really surprised. Provide you with a false option, sounds like ‘Western Democracy’ to me…

    • Chris says:

      You may have disabled third-party cookies or are using other secure settings. Try a different, less customized browser.

  3. Martin V says:

    Keep on trying people, after… let’s say… 10 tries you can make it.

  4. AJIT P says:

    Guys keep trying, it worked for me

  5. Dynamic says:

    Wow. I guess the Winklevii were probably right about this guy. Sucks, he seemed so promising, you know, pro-people and all… just, too bad.

  6. Jamie says:

    Guys, you have to make sure that you have Ghostery, Do Not Track Plus and other similar apps disabled whilst you do this,

  7. Mat Ter says:

    The voting app did not work for me in Firefox (latest release version), but worked when I logged in from Internet Explorer.

  8. Rosalind says:

    Thanks for the heads up on using Internet Explorer – I use Chrome and could not vote for the longest time (tried more than a dozen times). But the moment I switched to the IE tab (or just use Internet Explorer), everything worked fine.

  9. Jamie says:

    I get the feeling that Facebook would prefer it if people didn’t vote. Why do they need more than 300 million votes to make it count? That’s more than the number of people who vote in America!!

    No one on my Facebook seems to understand what this vote is about.

  10. lushy says:

    I thank my ever living stars that I NEVER established a FB account. Just seems a case to collect information (personal) that shouldn’t ever be exposed. Me, I am all safe with Abine’s products which I highly recommend. Their Do Not Track (DNT) has many times stopped folks that want to track me and where I go. Not anymore thanks to DNT, and the best part it’s FREE yes I said FREE with no strings attached.
    To date my DNT has saved me from 13,215 attempts to track me.
    As for FB, You won’t ever see me there. Happy Holidays!

  11. Nyx says:

    I would vote if they let me! Ten tries and counting…
    And what about all the Facebook users who don’t speak English? Are they being notified? Are they able to vote?

  12. Sal says:

    Thank you for your coverage of the Facebook voting process. Although facebook sent me the information and I read every word they conveniently left no instructions as to how to vote.

  13. Sal says:

    Thank you for posting the exact information on how to vote on Facebooks new changes. I received an e-mail regarding the vote, but no instrusctions as to where to vote…

  14. Dee says:

    I hate facebook. I closed my fb account permanently because nothing that you do online is private anymore as long as you have a facebook account. Even though I no longer have a fb account, I run across requirements to “log in to facebook to post your comment.” Really? So if I don’t have a fb account, I can’t post comments on certain websites, and if I do have a fb account, logging in to fb to post a comment means that fb now knows that I have gone to that website. Is it any of their business what websites I am going to? With fb, your entire online life can be tracked. There’s something eerily wrong with that.

    • Sarah Downey says:

      It’s really annoying, and you’re not alone in not wanting to log in with Facebook Connect. It’s really isolating people who want to participate on websites but don’t want a Facebook account. One developer who used a Facebook-only login came to really regret it later because people hated it, and he wrote an awesome blog post about why forcing a Facebook login is a bad idea. You’ll probably appreciate it: http://dickbrouwer.com/post/16748664071/facebook-perils

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