Bloomberg News

Facebook Draws Insufficient Votes on Policy Changes

December 11, 2012

Facebook Inc. (FB:US) is moving ahead with revisions to its data-sharing and member-input policies that privacy advocates had opposed after failing to get enough votes in a user poll on the proposed changes.

Voting ended yesterday at 3 p.m. New York time, with 668,872 members weighing in, Facebook said. While 88 percent of the votes sought to stick with the existing policies -- a “no” vote on the proposed changes -- the company requires that at least 30 percent of its more than 1 billion users participate for the vote to be binding.

“We made substantial efforts to inform our users and encourage them to vote, both through e-mails and their news feeds,” Elliot Schrage, vice president of communications, public policy and marketing, said in a Facebook post today. “Despite these efforts and widespread media coverage, less than 1 percent of our user community of more than 1 billion participated.”

Menlo Park, California-based Facebook, owner of the world’s largest social network, last month proposed rolling back voting options for users, shifting controls on messaging and combining data from affiliates, including newly acquired photo-sharing service Instagram. Privacy groups, including the Electronic Privacy Information Center and the Center for Digital Democracy, had opposed the changes, asking Chief Executive Officer Mark Zuckerberg to scrap the proposal.

Comment Period

Still, the feedback Facebook received from users during the seven-day comment period resulted in revisions. The company added language that clarified updates on control over privacy and on sharing information with affiliates, Schrage said in today’s post.

The updated policies will improve how Facebook manages the governance process and better reflects the growing size of its user base, the company has said. Among other things, the changes would give users more detailed information about shared data, including reminders about what’s visible to other people on Facebook.

Facebook shares advanced less than 1 percent to $27.98 at the close in New York. The stock has declined 26 percent since an initial public offering in May.

To contact the reporter on this story: Danielle Kucera in San Francisco at dkucera6@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Tom Giles at tgiles5@bloomberg.net


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    (Facebook Inc)
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