Facebook's communications chief, Elliot Schrage, recently posted an explanatory note about the proposed changes and clarified the company's plans. Our goal in modifying our site governance process is to make sure that we receive feedback from you in the best, most productive way possible so that we can be responsive to your input, Schrage said referring to the proposed end of the user vote. Instead of voting, Facebook will provide other mechanisms for users to participate in site governance such as user comments and direct questions to Facebook's privacy officer.
As for the proposal to permit Facebook to combine user data with companies it owns such as Instagram, Schrage says this is just a logistical change. This provision covers Instagram and allows us to store Instagrams server logs and administrative records in a way that is more efficient than maintaining totally separate storage systems, Schrage said. The sharing of information among our affiliates is and will be done in compliance with all applicable laws, and where additional consent of our users is required, we will obtain it.
While it's not clear whether Facebook users care about the social network's policy changes, other consumer interest groups do. The Office of the Irish Data Protection Commissioner asked Facebook to modify some of its proposals, which Facebook appears to have done. And two privacy groups, the Center for Digital Democracy and the Electronic Privacy Information Center in late November asked Facebook to rethink its proposed changes.