Facebook and Instagram to share user data

Facebook look set to start combining user data with data from Instagram. It is also proposing to abolish the current user-votes system when it comes to making decisions on site governance.

Lexy Savvides Principal Video Producer
Lexy is an on-air presenter and award-winning producer who covers consumer tech, including the latest smartphones, wearables and emerging trends like assistive robotics. She's won two Gold Telly Awards for her video series Beta Test. Prior to her career at CNET, she was a magazine editor, radio announcer and DJ. Lexy is based in San Francisco.
Expertise Wearables | Smartwatches | Mobile phones | Photography | Health tech | Assistive robotics Credentials
  • Webby Award honoree, 2x Gold Telly Award winner
Lexy Savvides
2 min read

According to a report from Reuters, Facebook is set to start combining user data with data from Instagram. It is also proposing to abolish the current user-votes system when it comes to making decisions on site governance.

(Credit: CBSi)

Following the social network's US$715 million acquisition of Instagram, it comes as no surprise that the two services should share user data. One criticism often levelled at Facebook is its slow approach to building a more cohesive experience on mobile devices, something that Instagram does inherently well. While a proposal to share user data doesn't necessarily imply that Facebook will adopt a more Instagram-like experience, it certainly does suggest that users will be able to more seamlessly connect between the platforms, and possibly log in once and have that applied universally across both services.

It follows a similar move by Google, which recently unified data and user profiles across a range of its services.

Also, Facebook has proposed several updates to its documents surrounding the Data Use Policy and Statement of Rights and Responsibilities (SRR). Introduced in 2009, the social network currently allows users to vote on several elements of site governance.

Facebook is proposing an end to the voting component, which currently requires 7000 "substantiative comments" to trigger a site-wide vote, which will then only be binding if more than 30 per cent of active users vote. According to the proposal, the social network said:

We will continue to post significant changes to our Data Use Policy and SRR, and provide a seven-day period for review and comment. As always, we will carefully consider your feedback before adopting any changes. We will also provide additional notification mechanisms, including email, for informing you of those changes.

The social network has previously come under fire from privacy activists like Max Schrems, who was behind the Europe vs. Facebook initiative that encouraged other users to copy and paste pre-written comments that would force Facebook to go to a vote.

Other updates to Facebook's data policies include measures around managing Facebook messages. As cited in the proposal, the list of changes includes:

  • New tools for managing your Facebook Messages — replacing the "Who can send you Facebook messages" setting with new filters for managing incoming messages

  • Changes to how we refer to certain products, like instant personalisation

  • Reminders about what's visible to other people on Facebook. For instance, when you hide things from your timeline, those posts are visible elsewhere, like in the news feed, on other people's timelines or in search results

  • Tips on managing your timeline. For example, you can use tools on your timeline or activity log to delete your own posts, or you can ask someone else to delete a post in which you're tagged.

The proposals will be open to public feedback (that is, from active Facebook users) until 28 November.