Facebook has proposed another set of updates to the documents that describe how it handles user data, and those changes reveal that it will be sharing data from other services it owns as well as removing the ability to block email messages from certain users outright. As part of the new Data Use Policy, Facebook wants to share user information across other Facebook-owned entities — such as Instagram — in order to "improve our own services and their own services." The company also slipped in the ability to use that data to improve targeted advertising.
In addition, Facebook is removing the ability to control whether individuals can message you. However, in its proposal the company does state that it will be offering users new options — including filters — to help manage their inbox instead.
The old system "incentivized the quantity of comments over their quality."
In a procedural tweak that could prove to have the strongest long-term impact of them all, Facebook is also doing away with the voting system that lets users veto changes to its terms and policies. Under Facebook's previous system, a vote was triggered if more than 7,000 users commented on a given change — but 30 percent of the site's one billion users needed to vote to make it binding. Facebook says the old system encouraged quantity of comments rather than quality, and as a result wants to focus on discussion through newly proposed features. Facebook will hold webcasts with the company's chief privacy officer, Erin Egan, and will also start an ongoing feature in which users will be able to ask Egan questions directly.
Having the veto as an emergency fallback is arguably better for Facebook's user community, but Egan points out to TechCrunch that Facebook has been closely observed by several government agencies since it went public — a notion that should offer some comfort to users. The proposal is currently up for comment until next Wednesday, November 28th at 9AM PST, so head on over to let Facebook know what you think — it could very well be your last chance to vote on the site's policies. After the discussion period ends, Facebook will host a webcast with Egan to respond to user comments.
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