Face it, network casts last vote

FACEBOOK has made it official: its users will no longer get a vote in how the giant social network handles their personal information.

FACEBOOK has made it official: its users will no longer get a vote in how the giant social network handles their personal information.

The Facebook polls closed this week and despite the biggest turnout yet for such a vote, too few users cast ballots to have a say in the company's proposed policy changes.

Nearly nine in 10 of those who voted were against the proposed changes, but only about 669,000 people cast ballots. That's less than 1 per cent of Facebook's 1 billion-plus users.

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

The company said it would adopt the changes despite the opposition. Among the changes: taking away Facebook users' right to vote on future changes.

Facebook said it planned 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 Facebook adopted was the loosening of restrictions on who can message you on Facebook, and a plan to share information with its affiliates, including popular photo-sharing service Instagram.

In comments on Facebook, some users protested. "Wow, just wow. Don't ask people to vote, then completely ignore their voices," Daniel Horton wrote.

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.

But Elliot Schrage, Facebook's vice-president of communications, public policy and marketing, said in a blog post that the company 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," Mr Schrage said. "We believe that having a meaningful dialogue with our community through our notice and comment process is core to that effort moving forward."

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