By Michael Blain
Facebook has been in the business of selling people’s personal information for quite some time now. Not only that but even a deleted profile can be entirely restored from a back up, meaning quite simply that every word, thought, picture, etc. that you place onto its seemingly harmless walls are there forever. Now that the company has gone public, it is currently pretending to care about the needs of individual users for the time being, which is why a company goes public on the stock market, isn’t it?
Thanks to an Austrian law student and European activist named Max Schrems, there will be a vote, which will end on June 8th, that will be before this article goes to print. But the main purpose of this is not to inform people of the vote itself, which is being blasted across the social media application non-stop as I write this, but rather to explain the issues surrounding it. That mainly being that this vote only helps Facebook look like they are capable of mercy and will provide no assurance of a plan to remedy their endless privacy violations of the past and in the future.
There is also a loophole in the actual voting process and results because over 30% of the registered users of Facebook, according to their own press release, must participate in the vote or it is invalid. That means over 270 million people are required to vote on these issues for them to even be considered. That is not going to happen, and even if it does, I hardly believe that Facebook is going to take any steps that prevent them from making billions of dollars the same way that they always have.
The vote is supposed to be primarily about personal information usage, data storage (how long Facebook can legally save your information), and how much access external applications will have to Facebook profiles. Facebook’s entire business model is literally based off of the exploitation of personal information and filtering ads accordingly, so no significant change is coming on that front. The data storage issue should have been illegal in the first place and maybe people who are still children and don’t have an account yet can hope to see some progress on that, but I wouldn’t hold my breath on that one. And as far as the external applications go, all that will happen is an extremely long disclaimer on the accept prompt page when you have a choice to permit the application to access Facebook, which is currently required to enter pretty much any contest in the world. Sadly, it seems that the voting process can never be an honest one no matter what it is regarding.