Facebook to adopt new rules despite vote shortfall

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(AP) -- Facebook will adopt new rules governing the social network even though a vote fell well short of a minimum threshold.

The new documents specify, among other things, that users own their information, not . An earlier attempt to push changes led to user confusion and protests over who controls the personal information people share on the site.

More than 600,000 of Facebook's 200 million regular users voted over the past week, with nearly three-quarters in favor of the changes. Palo Alto, Calif.-based Facebook said Friday an outside auditor is verifying the results.

Ted Ullyot, Facebook's general counsel, said turnout is "a small number" compared with the site's user base. Facebook had set a minimum threshold of a 30 percent for the vote to be binding. That would have been about 60 million people, or about 100 times the actual turnout.

"We'd hoped to have a bigger turnout for this inaugural vote, but it is important to keep in mind that this vote was a first for users just like it was a first for Facebook," Ullyot said in a blog post, adding that the site will consider lowering that threshold for future votes.

Julius Harper, who co-founded a Facebook group in February to protest the changes to the site's terms of service, said Facebook could have done a better job advertising the vote.

"Not everyone was aware of what was going on," said Harper, a Los Angeles-based video game producer.

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Facebook users' vote ending way short of threshold

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User comments

Apr 24, 2009
Firstly, they should have kept the voting open for at least one week. I only saw the ad once on my profile and it really didn't specify what it was all about. I feel Facebook should have highlighted key parts of it saying it was critical to their security. Had I been better informed what I was voting on I would've voted.

Apr 25, 2009
Just trying to find the documents regarding the vote was a challenge. I wasn't able to find them until after the voting closed and the decision was made. I don't refute Facebook's ability to make their own choices, but to throw out this non-choice and then adopt it despite a lack of quorum seem a little odd. There was NO reason they couldn't have place a link to the documents when they posted the vote advertisement on everyone's pages. They essentially said "vote, but good luck finding what you are voting on, and hey guys, we aren't going to pay any attention anyway".

I applaud Facebook for creating a dynamic social environment and for avoiding many of the pitfalls of other social media sites, yet they could go the way of the dodo if they alienate their own users.

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