back to article Facebook vote a 'massive con trick' says privacy advocate

Facebook has deliberately changed the rules around its much-hyped "user vote" to ensure that it won't have to follow decisions made. The company originally said that if 25 per cent of users voted in favour of a change in its terms and conditions it would consider that binding. But that percentage has now gone up to 30 per cent …


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  1. Michael

    Well, that's the first I've heard of it

    Also, from their posting about it: "Voting will begin on April 16 and end on April 23. It will be done through an application developed on Facebook Platform by Wildfire, and the vote tabulation will be audited by an independent auditor to ensure that the results are accurate."

    So if I even want to vote, I have to turn on the sodding applications API I spent about an hour working out how to turn off?

  2. Jimmy Floyd

    Like with like

    I think the comparison with a(nother) attempt at Scotland legging it isn't a fair one.

    Only a third of the Scottish electorate were bothered enough to declare their interest in splitting from the rest of the UK so it wouldn't have been at all fair to hoist that on the other two-thirds who either said "no" or thought "Christ, will ye stop asking already?"

    And at least the Scottish can claim some common heritage. Facebook users are a disparate bunch because they represent a wide cross-section of the community. Plus, and here's the clincher, it's a damn sight easier to stop using Facebook than to stop being Scottish...

  3. Martin Lyne


    Can you vote FOR something? If not that might be why they incresed to 30%. I wouldn't like being dictated to by a minority of 25% (or 30 for that matter) if my abstenance was assumed to be apathy.

    Much the same problem with politics today. I don't vote because choosing between turd A and turd B isn't what I want to do.

    If wanted to appeal agains other users' votes against a term or condition, that shoudl hold as much weight as their moaning.

    I don't really care either way though,in this instance, it has to be said.

  4. Winkypop Silver badge
    Thumb Down

    Facebook vote a 'massive con trick' says privacy advocate

    Should be changed to:

    "Facebook a 'massive con trick' says privacy advocate"

  5. Mike


    well it's called democracy, just as any politician!

  6. Neil Maybin

    Simon Davies is right ...

    ... but he should declare his commercial relationship with Phorm when he makes statements about commercial websites and privacy. Otherwise he could be accused of trying to get one in before Facebook join Amazon and Wikipedia in blocking Phorm.

  7. Simon Painter

    democracy doesn't work

    have you ever tried running one? people tend not to vote for what you want them to

  8. Whitter

    Rigging votes 101

    The 1979 referendum on Scottish independence was even better than this: anyone who didn't vote was counted as having actively voted against. That included dead people - and even yourself if you happened to have moved house in the previous 2 years; they didn't check the auto-no-votes for accuracy for obvious reasons.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Re: Simon Davies is right ...

    Damn, beat me to it.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Devolution, not independence

    Hopefully not to be too picky, but the 1979 vote was for Scottish devolution, not independence. Scotland did eventually gain devolution after a referendum in 1997.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Dead Vulture

    re: Democracy doesn't work

    The organisation trampling over hundreds of years of privacy and safeguards: The Commons

    The organisation trying to stop them (or at least slow them down): The Lords

    Conclusion: Benevolence is better than self-interest.

    Better to vote for someone who'll probably lose than to vote for someone you don't like.

    And stop making my vote count for less by making the democracy larger!

    Self-government, RIP (in Sweden too)

  12. Fihart

    Facebook, Why ?

    What is the point of Facebook ?

    I could see it was a good idea when it just extended a college yearbook to a network so that students could identify faces seen around campus.

    But I'm puzzled when I get invited to join in order to look at a page put up by a girl in S. Korea which consists of pictures of her in Paris, her in London , her in Venice, her in Madrid. Her friends pages are much the same.

    In the end I created a page for my cat showing the views the cat might get from the windows of my flat -- on the assumption the girl would either be deeply insulted or think it was terribly cute.

    Seemed to go with the latter.

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    American Idol openly vote rigging

    36 million votes were vetoed on Tuesday so that Simon Cowell and the other celebrity judges could save someone else queuing up to be famous for 5 minutes.

    Of course they haven't had a premium rate phone-in scandal over there, yet...

    However I don't give a shit about this, or the facebook vote rigging either.

  14. Anonymous Coward

    What the hell windmill is that quixotic nutjob Davies tilting at this time?

    Has anyone actually tried READING the new and revised terms? They are *exemplary* in setting out their respect for your ownership and control of your personal data above everything else; not just in the letter of the law but also in lengthy and explicit documentation outlining the spirit and principles of it. And has nobody bloody noticed that the much-loved original terms ALSO contain this much reviled provision for an irrevocable license, where the newly-revised terms explicitly limit it? The old rules also blatantly contradict themselves when they say that by posting user content you grant them an "irrevocable, perpetual" license that at the same time "expires" if you choose to remove that user content.

    Any such rules that contain a blatant nonsense are badly drawn and need to be redrafted, and the new rules are much better. What a bunch of horseshit and FUD this whole thing is. Seems to me that trying to stick to the old rules would be a big lose. I'm voting in favour.

  15. Simon Davies

    Re: Simon Davies is right ...

    Gah. I suspect I'm going to have to paste these url's a few hundred more times before everyone gets the story about my commercial situation with Phorm (and every other company):

  16. JoePritchard

    Fuss about nothing...

    If you don't like the T&Cs of a service you use, quit using it.

    There, end of problem.

    I'm actually more concerned about my Government wanting to snoop on everything in my online life, but until the next election I'm stuck with the bastards.

  17. Anonymous Coward

    What's new?

    This is much the same way that directors manage to stay on the boards of PLC's for years isn't it? Just set your threshold to get the result you want. Democracy is so easy (to fix).

  18. Raymond Cranfill

    Death of Privacy

    I don't have a "spcial networking" page, nor do I see the need. Perhaps if I were 16, I could have been pressured into creating one, but not now. What truly concerns me is the effect that sites like Facebook and Friendster are having on the concept of privacy rights, especially among the young. Kids think nothing of posting the most private and sensitive matter these days. Some of the more enthusiastic participants practically clone their day to day existence onto their website. Most kids don't stop to think that once this information goes into the aether, it's there forever, and their control over how the information is used is gone forever.

    Here in the United States, privacy rights are only implicitly protected under our Bill of Rights. They have been inferred as the natural extension of various explicitly enumerated rights. As such, the "right of privacy" is something of a moving target. The concept of privacy is always being reevaluated in view of changing social customs and norms. As the younger segments of american society commit more and more aspects of their private like to internet, it's only natural that the legal concept of privacy is further eroded. This is great news for state and federal governments that want to surveil and control us. It's also good news for corporations and businesses that want to sell us products and services. It's bad news for the dwindling number of us who enjoy our privacy, although honestly the battle was probably lost with the introduction of computerized record keeping of health and financial transactions beginning in the 60's.

    I do wonder, though, how some of these kids will feel in 50 years when Big Brother is no longer a threat, but a reality, and they come to realize that they played a big part in bringing it on.

  19. Rich

    It was devolution

    Not independence that was on offer.

  20. Camp Freddy
    Thumb Up

    graffiti seen in London....

    "If voting worked it would be illegal"

    I have resisted a faceberk account for so long now - I agree with Fihart, what is the point of it? - but have been blackmailed into making a fb page so I can see people's photos who can't be bothered to post them somewhere helpful like photobucket etc. I use my page to be abusive about faceberk. Childish but fun.

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    So, if users get the support to add a T&C which says Facebook must pay an annual fee to each user of £1,000 as a 'thank you' for their custom, is that binding?

    If so, contact everyone with a date when they need to log in and vote. I may even join just to support the worthy cause.

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