Meagre user turnout means Facebook has put an end to 'democratic' votes on policy and governance changes
Facebook has responded bullishly to claims that it didn't make users aware of a potential major change to the way it handles user data.
A vote on new Facebook data and information governance asked users to choose between the sites existing policy and a new version. Just 0.067 per cent of users voted, with a 30 per cent turnout needed for the vote to be binding.
Of those who did vote, a total of 668,872, an overwhelming 88 per cent voted against changes to Facebook's governance and user data policies.
Some Facebook users reacted angrily, saying the company had not publicised the vote. When we asked Facebook for a response the company said that all users had been emailed twice about the vote and that notifications had been posted on its site governance page.
Facebook also said that in many instances feedback from users on policy changes was low quality, consisting mostly of spam and cut and paste comments.
The proposed changes (detailed here and here) have now been introduced. A major change sees users no longer able to vote on changes to site policy, while users may also no longer be notified of policy changes. Facebook can also now share user data with other services it owns, including data collected from recently acquired Instagram.
Facebook, whose European branch is based in Ireland, said that regardless of what changes it makes it will still be answerable to the US Federal Trade Commission and Ireland's Data Protection Commission.
Speaking after the conclusion of the voting process Facebook's Elliot Scharge, vice president of communications, public policy and marketing said that while voting numbers were "minimal" the site understood that users wanted to be able to vote on how the site is governed.
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