After noon Pacific time Monday, Facebook will probably never again ask its customers about their privacy wishes. That’s because 300 million accounts (approximately 1/3 of all accounts) must cast a “we want to have input” vote by that deadline. Less than 1 million have done so to date.

Facebook set up the voting system in 2009 in response to customer complaints about ad hoc changes in privacy settings. And it lost a class action suit in California over sharing without permission.

Read on (Storify) to learn what’s at stake. Then vote to retain the current terms of service.

KATHY GILL, Technology Policy Analyst
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Copyright 2012 The Moderate Voice
  • zephyr

    Too bad FB is becoming one of the bad guys. I use it and enjoy it but I can also live without it. Kind of a shame really.

  • Seems to me Facebook was slimy from the get-go.

  • ordinarysparrow

    Kathy i just followed the link… and sure enough it will not allow me to vote or to notify friends about the voting… that is slimy… I am ready to jump ship…are there any decent social media sites on the horizon?

  • ordinarysparrow

    Kathy i did switch to Windows Explorer and got the access to vote… thanks for letting us know about this.. and will be sharing your post as many places as i can think… many thanks

    What a dirty rotten slimy goofierized grubby grabbing action by facebook…

  • ordinarysparrow

    Sorry Kathy it is me again… after voting i wanted to use the share function so it could be sent to ‘friends’ in order to get the link around and noticed… there is no share function available, but there is a promotion function, which means if i pay them seven dollars and give fb access to a credit card then one is allowed to promote it. I would never give fb credit card information…no thanks on that one…

  • SteveK

    And then there’s the fact you can’t close your Facebook account.

    I too thought it was ‘slimy from the start’ but opened an account to see for myself. After a very short time I went to user settings to close the account only to find that once you sign up Facebook gives you NO WAY to leave.

    I called Facebook and was told that if I didn’t sign on to my account for a year that it would close automaticly so I removed everything and stopped signing on.

    This was two years ago but I have no idea if my account is closed or not because I’d have to try signing on to see and by signing on my account would reactivate… Catch 22

    Edit to add: Kathy – I don’t know what you do differently when you post but your posts are the only ones that won’t let me bookmark comments. When I do, and then click on the bookmark, my browser takes me to the bookmark for a second and then puts me in the middle of your comment.

  • SteveK

    Well, I just fact-checked myself and it appears that there is now a way to permanently close your facebook account.

    I don’t think that option was available when I stopped using Facebook but I may be wrong.

  • ordinarysparrow

    Steve K… just checked a close friend that died three years ago this Christmas her page continues to exist… no activity on the page since before that time… but it is still up… so it looks like they are not removing inactive accounts based on what they told you…

  • StockBoyLA

    Too bad the Tea Party types who are against people telling them what to do, starating with government, don’t protest Facebook with all their anger. Would be interesting to see liberals and Tea Partiers working together.

  • Dr. J

    And as soon as Facebook hires a police force to make sure people don’t opt-out, you might see that, StockBoy. The compulsory participation is kind of an important trait of the government that makes people more sensitive when it gets dictatorial.

    Fighting for the right to tell Facebook what to do kind of misses the point, IMHO, because the site is all about publishing details of your personal life to the internet. Privacy features may make it feel like you can control the consequences, but that seems really optimistic.

    If you want a really effective privacy policy that you control, try this one: don’t live your life on Facebook.

  • Hi, folks — thanks for sharing this and confirming the challenge with Chrome (or were you using Firefox?).

    Steve, I don’t do anything any differently than anyone else re blog posts. Well, I should say — I don’t do anything but click “publish”. πŸ™‚

    Dr J – the issue is bigger than “don’t live your life on Facebook.” Digital social networks are not going away any more than using a browser to search for health information or find a vacation spot. Those digital tracks are available to your search engine which may or may not be (but probably is) selling that info in the aggregate. We are living in a world with far more different forms of surveillance than George Orwell could have imagined — and it’s being orchestrated by commerce, and by individuals, not by governments.

    I think all companies have a tendency to become “bad guys” when they get big (scale) and focus on stockholders rather than on customers. My two cents.

  • Dr. J

    You’re right, Kathy, but I think the data they sell to advertisers is the least of the threat. Advertisers are reasonably well behaved, they run on anonymous data, and at the end of the day all they do is show ads. Much more concerning is the visibility of personally-identified data to employers, fraudsters, and other individuals with whom you might care about your reputation. They can impact your life a lot more, a lot worse, and their behavior is much less predictable.

  • ordinarysparrow

    Kathy i am using FireFox….

  • Momzworld

    I switched to Explorer and was able to vote and also to share the information with my FB friends. There are times when Facebook seems not to function consistantly, something that “worked” yesterday doesn’t work today and things like that. I know when I use Facebook that I’m leaving “tracks”, same thing with Google. I don’t live my life on FB, but I do enjoy reading my news wall every day and keeping up with my family. I’m retired and don’t do anything much or go anywhere, so I don’t worry about surveillance. Naive, perhaps.

  • ordinarysparrow

    I was thinking of Dr. J’s comment: ” β€œdon’t live your life on Facebook.” and with reflection had to laugh, for i rarely share anything concerning self on facebook, i shared nature photos and quotes…a place where i can keep wisdom saying that i like… What i share at here at the TMV is truly more personal than anything i would ever share on FB…I do not have much trust of FB because we are their product and they make billions on us as product and they are about as concerned and humane as driving cattle to slaughter…