Facebook polls close: Facebook wins privacy vote by a landslide


The Facebook polls have closed and, even though the social network had its biggest turnout ever, too few users cast ballots to have a say in the company’s proposed policy changes.

Nearly 9 in 10 of those who voted were against the proposed changes, but only about 668,000 people cast ballots. That’s an infinitesimal percentage of Facebook’s 1 billion plus users.

Facebook requires that 30% of Facebook users participate for a vote to count. Facebook has held two earlier elections and neither met that threshold.


One of the proposed changes: Taking away Facebook users’ right to vote on future changes. Facebook said it plans to give users other ways to weigh in on policy changes such as an “Ask the Chief Privacy Officer” question-and-answer forum on its website.

Among the other proposals that users voted on: whether Facebook can loosen restrictions on who can message you on Facebook and whether it can share information with its affiliates, including popular photo-sharing service Instagram.

The next step will be a review of the Facebook vote by an outside auditor.

Two privacy groups – the Electronic Privacy Information Center and the Center for Digital Democracy -- are still urging Facebook to withdraw the proposed changes.

Marc Rotenberg, executive director of the Electronic Privacy Information Center, called the vote “notable” and “historic” because it was roughly twice the size of the vote held in June and called on Facebook to heed the will of those Facebook users who did vote.

He is calling on Facebook to lower the bar for a vote to count by shifting the burden to Facebook to get 30% of users to vote before making changes. In addition, he would like Facebook to set up a users council and appoint an ombudsman.



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