Facebook drops user vote on privacy rules | Business| Economy and finance news from a German perspective | DW | 22.11.2012
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Facebook drops user vote on privacy rules

US social media giant Facebook has announced it will abolish a rule that gives users a direct say in the networking site's privacy policy. The move comes after a site governance vote in June failed miserably.

Reversing its 2009 privacy policy, Facebook said it would drop a voting mechanism, which had allowed users a say in privacy rule changes in case a proposal received more than 7,000 substantive comments. Under the original rule, Facebook also pledged to be bound by the result of a vote if more than 30 percent of all active users participated.

In a blog post Wednesday, Facebook communications chief Elliot Schrage wrote the rule would be dropped because it had encouraged a deluge of low quality comment that didn't represent the widespread opinion of the network's users.

Furthermore, a vote on site governance policy in June this year attracted participation by only 350,000 of its users, which was about 0.04 percent of the Facebook community, showing that a turnout of 30 percent for a vote among 1 billion users was unachievable.

"Therefore, we're proposing to end the voting component of the process in favor of a system that leads to more meaningful feedback and engagement," Schrage wrote in the blog.

Under the new system, planned to be introduced on November 29, Facebook aims to give users a seven-day comment and review period for what it calls significant changes to its Data Use Policy and its Statement of Rights and Responsibilities (SRR).

In addition, the social network will offer a "Ask the Chief Privacy Officer" feature, allowing users to submit questions to Facebook's privacy chief Erin Egan. According to Elliot Schrage, Egan would also host regular webcasts to discuss privacy issues with users.

uhe/dr (dpa, AP, dapd)

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