Ah Facebook, what can you be thinking?

Oh dear.

On Wednesday, November 21, at about 12:56pm, Facebook posted in their Site Governance page a note that they are changing their policy and requesting feedback of a more qualitative nature:

We recently announced some proposed updates to our Data Use Policy, which explains how we collect and use data when people use Facebook, and our Statement of Rights and Responsibilities (SRR), which explains the terms governing use of our services.
The updates provide you with more detailed information about our practices and reflect changes to our products, including:
  • New tools for managing your Facebook Messages;
  • Changes to how we refer to certain products;
  • Tips on managing your timeline; and
  • Reminders about what’s visible to other people on Facebook.
We are also proposing changes to our site governance process for future updates to our Data Use Policy and SRR. We deeply value the feedback we receive from you during our comment period but have found that the voting mechanism created a system that incentivized quantity of comments over the quality of them. So, we are proposing to end the voting component in order to promote a more meaningful environment for feedback. We also plan to roll out new engagement channels, including a feature for submitting questions about privacy to our Chief Privacy Officer of Policy.
We encourage you to review these proposed changes and give us feedback before we finalize them. Please visit the “Documents” tab of the Facebook Site Governance Page https://www.facebook.com/fbsitegovernance to learn more about these changes and to submit comments before 9 AM PST on November 28, 2012.
You can also follow and like the Site Governance Page for updates on this process and on any future changes to our Data Use Policy or SRR.
Tips:
Your timeline: You have settings that help you design how your timeline will appear to others, like hiding things from your timeline. Remember that this only impacts whether those things are visible on your timeline. Those posts are still visible elsewhere, like in news feed, on other people’s timelines, or in search results. You can delete your own posts from your timeline or activity log, or ask someone else to delete a post you’re tagged in.
Cookies info: Technologies like cookies, pixels, and local storage are used to deliver, secure, and understand products, services, and ads, on and off Facebook. Learn moreabout how we and our partners use cookies and similar technologies.

On their page, they list the following announcement (in many languages, so it’s clear this is a world-wide change):

We are proposing updates to our Data Use Policy and Statement of Rights and Responsibilities to, among other things, restructure our site governance process. Please review the updates under the “Documents” tab of our Site Governance Page and leave comments by 9:00 AM PST on November 28, 2012. Remember, substantive and relevant comments about specific changes help us evaluate a proposal.

But what does this mean to users like me and you?

Well, with the recent breaks in structure that make sure only some people see our posts, I often wonder just how much we’re shouting into the wilderness on any given subject. That said, the proposed change seems to show that Facebook’s management want to give their users more control (not less). Changing the vote-only option (at least on its face) provides users the opportunity to tell Facebook powers that be exactly what we think of the changes they make to the system.

You only have until November 28 to comment and Facebook has made sharing that information darn difficult.

Here’s what I am about to post on the thread. Feel free to repost everything BELOW the —, and to share this post with your friends:

While I welcome the opportunity to give Facebook specific feedback on policy changes, I DO NOT AUTHORIZE the changes proposed under the new Terms and Conditions statement.

At no time have I ever authorized Facebook to use my personal data (texts, photographs, personal pictures, personal information and so on) for Facebook’s commercial use, nor do I now authorize their use.

In accordance with the UK Data Protection Act, the use of same is in direct violation of the DATA PROTECTION ACT of 1998 (http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/1998/29/contents), and affects not only my rights but those of people connected to me via Facebook who live in the UK and elsewhere in Europe.

This denial of authorization statement applies to all the data I have posted or shared on every one of my Facebook pages and groups, as well as those items shared by others through their Facebook accounts.

Commercial use of these data requires my written permission. My data MAY NOT be used for marketing research or advertising purposes.

Furthermore, I should have the right to decide who can see my “Friends” list, to manage the information displayed in my feed, and who remains my Friend.

I object to any Facebook proposal that discloses my personal data to third parties for any reason whatsoever. I continue to reject both existing guidelines and current proposed changes, and urge Facebook to consider carefully whether individuals will keep their accounts if Facebook enacts proposed data use changes. Consumer copyright, privacy policy, and data protection legislation in Germany and Europe affects users worldwide.

There is no service available anywhere that is so valuable its users should consider privacy violations secondary to their rights to use the service in question.

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