Just 0.32% of Facebook Users Turn Out for TOS Vote

Dennis Faas's picture

Facebook's Terms of Service vote wrapped up yesterday, and although participation fell far short of what the social networking company had hoped, by a vote of three-to-one users supported its new TOS.

Earlier in the week, Facebook attempted to right earlier wrongs over its Terms of Service by throwing the issue open to a massive vote. Controversy erupted earlier this year when the site tried to introduce a new policy that could have left accounts in Facebook's possession, even if a user terminated his or her association with the database. Some even feared Facebook would take users' personal details and sell them off to the highest bidders, including advertisers, or worse.

Turnout Far Short of "Binding" Requirement

A huge outcry by privacy advocates put an end to that, and in trying to establish a better relationship with users Facebook opened its Terms of Service policy to a vote, beginning Monday and ending Thursday at 11:59am PT.

The site's management had hoped that at least 30 per cent of the total user base would vote, making the decision "binding" in their opinion. Unfortunately, the turnout was just about 650,000 -- still a significant number, but not anywhere near the 60 million represented by 30%. (Source: latimes.com)

The new policy voted in, which insiders speculate will be held up by Facebook, ensures that the site must continue a democratic approach to future revisions of any policies affecting its users.

Protest About Privacy -- or Design?

It's a step in the right direction for privacy advocates, but the low turnout is certainly surprising.

After the the February debacle involving the new TOS, a group was created to fight the changes. "Millions Against Facebook's New Layout & Terms of Service" eventually soaked up about 2.7 million members, making it one of the largest groups ever created. However, given the vote's turnout (less than a quarter of that group alone), it seems most people in "Millions Against..." were probably more opposed to the site's redesign than its complicated privacy policy.

Officially, Facebook's commitment to adopt and keep its democratic, communal governance will only be considered "advisory," since so few (about 0.32% of all Facebook users) turned out to vote. "It just goes to show that while a few users clearly got upset over TOS issues, most just don't care enough," quipped one expert. (Source: mediapost.com)

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