More than 400,000 Irish users of the |social networking site Facebook are to vote this week on controversial changes to the way the company proposes to use their personal information and photographs.
There was uproar after Facebook |altered its policy in February to give the company the right to use photos, personal information and content created by some 200m users even after they had closed their accounts.
The Facebook vote, which begins this Thursday, comes in the same week the European Union warned that people’s privacy must be given greater protection on the internet and on social networking sites.
“Europeans must have the right to control how their personal information is used,” said EU Information Society Commissioner Viviane Reding.
Facebook held a 30-day consultancy period which was open to all members and consulted with privacy, copyright and internet law experts before drafting new rules, following the backlash by users in February.
The new rules are designed to limit the use of member’s personal information by Facebook and to ensure the company has no rights over deleted content.
But the company will have some rights to use and distribute some user content.
A third of active Facebook users must vote in order for the vote to be binding. The voting will end on April 23.
Ms Reding has highlighted the need for a more general review of rules protecting personal information in the light of technological developments.
“European privacy rules are crystal clear: a person’s information can only be used with their prior consent.
“We cannot give up this basic principle and have all our exchanges monitored, surveyed and stored,” she said.