Sunday, December 9, 2012

Facebook Site Governance Vote - Ends on Dec 10 - 12 pm PST

Facebook has proposed changes in the way it runs Facebook. It plans to alter its data usage policies as well as its Statement of Rights and Responsibilities (SRR). We as facebook users are being asked whether to change the policies and implement the new ones or keep existing policy in effect.

Vote for that can be accessed on the Facebook Site Governance Page.

Although the changes are very minuscule and you are unlikely to notice most of the changes if you don't vote at all.

So areas where facebook has proposed changes to be implemented if the new policy is to go ahead are as follows:

1. Site Governance Process: Under the new proposed changes, facebook users will no longer be able to vote whenever any changes are announced in future, instead of being able to vote whether or not they are in favour of the changes announced at Facebook, users will be given a new feature called "Ask our chief privacy officer"

2. Affiliates: Facebook shares information with its affiliates (i.e. Facebook's family companies). Instagram is now one of the Facebook Affiliates and Facebook is adding additional language to make it clear that all sharing will be done in compliance with all applicable laws, and that Facebook will obtain permission from users to share the information wherever it needs to.  

3. Ownership of Content: According to me, a big area that is although not being changed much but users must be aware of what it actually is.
Facebook says "Anyone who uses Facebook owns and controls the content and information they post, as stated in our SRR. They control how that content and information is shared. That is our policy, and it always has been. We’re not proposing to change this key aspect of how Facebook works".

However if you get in detail with Facebook's SRR under the heading "Sharing Your Content and Information, it clearly states that "For content that is covered by intellectual property rights, like photos and videos (IP content), you specifically give us the following permission, subject to your privacy and application settings: you grant us a non-exclusive, transferable, sub-licensable, royalty-free, worldwide license to use any IP content that you post on or in connection with Facebook (IP License). This IP License ends when you delete your IP content or your account unless your content has been shared with others, and they have not deleted it."

Hence although you are the actual creator of the content, Facebook does get to in effect OWN your images / videos as you are giving them the permission which is transferable, sub-licensable (licensed further by Facebook), royalty free!

So there are no changes proposed in this area of Statement of Rights and Responsibilities, however in order to save yourself giving Facebook those rights, all you need to do is, delete the content from Facebook.

4. Privacy Controls: Privacy controls are not being changed and that Facebook is simply adding more explanation to your privacy settings and timeline preferences to what is being shared, with whom it is being shared 

5. Advertising: Facebook is now making it clearer that the ads shown which are based on your likes (of pages, etc.) and posts include topics like religion and political views. However there are no changes to the Advertising Guidelines of Facebook.

Now, if all is soooo good, what is the reason so many people are still voting NO to proposed policy changes, well here is the main course of changes that Facebook has proposed:

Facebook has put on vote the voting system itself, so what this means is that currently SRR says that, if more than 7000 people leave a comment on a proposed change to its Statement of Rights and Responsibilities or to its Data Use policies, Facebook has to run a vote and if 30% of Facebook users vote against the new proposal, Facebook shall continue with the current proposals and do not make any proposed amendments.

However, if this new policy is to go ahead, the users will lose their right to vote, so in effect you must vote to maintain your right for vote in future to any proposed changes on Facebook and how to its Site Governance.

So Vote NO if you are to retain you right to vote OR you are unhappy with any of the above changes that Facebook has proposed.
And VOTE YES, if you feel the process of voting is no longer required for future proposed changes and that you are HAPPY WITH ALL THE PROPOSED CHANGES as explained above.

Full details on the explained changes can be accessed HERE.

Full details on current legal terms (including Facebook's current Statement of Rights and Responsibilities) can be accessed HERE.

Once again, just a friendly reminder, the DEADLINE FOR YOUR VOTE IS Dec 10 12 pm PST, if you are unsure whats the current PST time, you may want to visit THIS PAGE.

Current Vote results as I am typing the article, are as follows: