There are certain constants that we can count on when it comes to the Internet. Comic book fans will always judge a superhero’s costume before the movie comes out. Felicia Day and Wil Wheaton will tweet wittier comments when they are half asleep than I could ever hope to craft. And, no matter what changes Facebook (News - Alert) makes to its policies, users will complain. And once again, they have, although this time something is different.
In the past, the social networking site has always allowed users to vote on proposed policy changes, but recently, Facebook announced that this would no longer be the case. In response, at least two US privacy groups have clicked the “dislike” button.
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Before, Facebook would solicit comments from users, and any proposed change that garnered more than 7,000 comments was put to a vote, requiring a 70 percent majority to pass. Facebook claims that the 7,000 comment threshold is too easy to achieve, and encourages weighing the quantity of comments over their quality.
But the Electronic Privacy Information Center and the Center for Digital Democracy have both written to Zuckerberg’s company protesting the change. "Although Facebook's existing mechanism set an unreasonably high participation threshold, scrapping the mechanism altogether raises questions about Facebook's willingness to take seriously the participation of Facebook users," the jointly written letter stated. "By removing users' ability to prevent strangers from sending unwanted messages, the proposed changes are likely to increase the amount of spam that users receive. Facilitating spam violates users' privacy and security, as many Facebook scams are accomplished through the messaging feature… Furthermore, Facebook's decision to combine personal information from Facebook and Instagram raises privacy issues."
The Internet as a whole reacted with the usual mix of sarcastic comments, overused memes and pictures of cats being cute.