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Facebook vote results: New policies are in, voting rights are out

December 11, 2012|By Jessica Guynn
  • Facebook Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg and Facebook employees celebrate its initial public stock offering on May 18.
Facebook Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg and Facebook employees celebrate… (Zef Nikolla / Associated…)

SAN FRANCISCO -- Facebook has made it official: Its users will no longer get a vote in how the giant social network handles their personal information.

And the votes that they did cast over the past week rejecting Facebook's proposed changes to privacy policies will not count. Facebook said Tuesday it has already adopted the policy changes.

An external auditor reviewed and confirmed the final results, Facebook said. Nearly 669,000 Facebook users voted, most of them opposed to the policy changes, including taking away their right to vote on policy changes. Yet that was less than 1% of the 1 billion Facebook users around the globe, and Facebook requires 30% of users to cast ballots for the vote to be binding. That means 300 million users would have had to vote.

Quiz: How much do you know about Facebook?

In comments on Facebook, users didn't take the news too well.

"Wow, just wow. Don't ask people to vote, then completely ignore their voices," wrote Daniel Horton.

Cindy Storm complained that the polls "were hard to locate and rarely worked."

Others complained that Facebook did not do enough to get out the vote.

"EVERY SINGLE PERSON should have had some sort of notice in their messages or at least their News Feed about it. And I KNOW you can track who has seen what, so those who had not logged in and seen it should not have counted as a possible vote. You are ridiculous. That's OK, I'll speak with my fingers and work on expanding my Google+ account," wrote Tina Willson.

And Colin Salter challenged the notion that Facebook needed 30% of users to vote to understand the will of the people.

"Considering the advancements in statistical testing over the past 20 years and considering that to get a confidence interval of plus/minus 3.5% you only need roughly 3,000 responses to project the results to an entire population, having more that 650,000 people vote on an issue is WAY more than adequate responses needed to know how the population would vote, especially considering the overwhelming people against the proposal," he commented.

But Elliot Schrage, vice president of communications, public policy and marketing, said in a blog post that Facebook made "substantial efforts to inform our users and encourage them to vote, both through emails and their news feeds."

And, he said, Facebook would find other ways to get feedback from users.

"We understand that many of you feel strongly about maintaining the participatory nature of our site governance process. We do too. We believe that having a meaningful dialogue with our community through our notice and comment process is core to that effort moving forward," Schrage said.


Facebook opens polls, users vote against privacy-policy changes

Facebook polls close: Facebook wins privacy vote by a landslide

Facebook upsets some by seeking to take away users' voting rights

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