But as more people wallpaper their Facebook pages with status updates, photographs, and video—more than half a petabyte of information flows through Facebook’s data warehouse on a daily basis—that question of ownership has taken a new and much-debated dimension: how much control do users actually have over Facebook’s policies and regulations?
The question exposes certain tensions inherent in Facebook’s very existence. On one hand, the social network needs to leverage user data in order to sell advertising. But if Facebook appears to disregard users’ privacy in the name of that advertising, it could provoke a brutal backlash. So as much as Facebook’s executives might like a free hand in setting policy, they also need to make a public show of responding to user concerns.
As such, Facebook is letting users vote on changes to its Data Use Policy and Statement of Rights and Responsibilities (Facebook users can vote via this link). The company will also host a live Webcast to answer questions at 9:30 AM PST. While Facebook provides access to the proposed Data Use Policy and other documents, it’s not wholly clear how the company will react if the vote doesn’t go its “way,” so to speak.