Facebook crushes hopes of critics

After weeks of stone-throwing prompted by IPO, critics now pitch Nerf

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It's still not even vaguely out of business; out of a leadership role in that business, yes. Out of it altogether, no.

Similarly, Jack Schrems, founder of Facebook vs. Europe, managed to stuff the ballot box with enough volunteer votes to force Facebook to put changes to its usage policy up for an approval vote to its membership.

That was a real accomplishment whose purpose should have been to put Facebook on notice that its customers were keeping an eye on it and wouldn't put up with more random, privacy-eroding changes to its privacy policy (like taking the word "privacy out of it") without asking them first.

It was not a referendum on the ultimate good- or badness of Facebook, which is the way he's treating it.

(If you use Facebook, please vote here. You have two more days before voting closes.)

Schrems may have riled up a lot of users about the usage policy, which certainly demands more ownership over data Facebook does not own than anyone should tolerate. It's unlikely he'll get the 230 million votes he needs to reject the new version, however. Even if he did, a 'no' vote would cause the policy to stay the way it is, which Schrems said already violates European privacy laws.

It's hard to motivate people to vote for something that, at best, only keeps a bad thing from getting a little worse.

It also makes it harder to motivate them to do anything else as a group later on, when you eventually think of something that would make a difference.

Not loving something doesn't mean you'll leave it

Even the Reuters poll of 1,000 Americans is funny only because it shows 66 percent of Facebook users don't know or don't care how cavalierly Facebook absconds with content they put on up for their use and that of their friends.

Yes it's significant that 34 percent of Facebook users use it less now than six months ago.

Yes it's pathetic only 20 percent like Facebook enough to use it more than they did six months ago.

No it's not surprising that responses to a question that could only be answered as More, Less or About the Same should look kind of bell-curvey. A third use F'book less. A fifth use it more. Forty-six percent use it about the same amount as six months ago.

Judging by the number of facepalms I get at the bank and the accountant's I'm unlikely ever to win any major prizes in either mathematics or probability. Even I know a vote that breaks down as 34/46/20 isn't an unequivocal mandate for change.

It's not a vote of confidence, either, but if half of everyone who cares thinks you're doing a good enough job that they'll let you continue doing it, you don't stand much chance of being thrown out of office without enough warning to pack up your cigars.

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