Why? Last week, Facebook invited all users to vote on proposed changes to the company's Data Use Policy and Statement of Rights and Responsibilities, something it first did in 2009 in response to privacy complaints. If the newly proposed changes are accepted, Facebook will no longer ask users to vote on policy changes, making this week's vote the last.
With only a few hours left in the voting process, it looks as if that's about to happen the change will happen at 3:00 p.m. ET.
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- Facebook will now collect user feedback via detailed suggestions instead of public voting
- Facebook will be able to more easily share data with affiliate companies such as Instagram
- Facebook will introduce new "filters" for managing messages
- Facebook will specify that advertisers can show political or religious content
- It will be easier for people to find your profile through search
And if you don't like what Facebook does in the future, you can can vote with your mouse by clicking over to Google Plus, the new Myspace or other alternatives.
And while we in the United States often consider the approximately 50% voter turnout we see in presidential elections to be lackluster, Facebook's vote got .06% turnout.
Another question remains, however: why was the participation rate so low?
It couldn't have been due to a lack of interest in privacy on the part of users. A fake and legally moot status message, which many users believed would protect their data if posted on their account, recently went viral. The message can also be found posted thousands of times in the comments section of Facebook's official posts about the policy change vote. And, speaking anecdotally, user privacy seems to be an issue increasingly on the mind of mainstream social media users.