Technology & Science

Facebook users vote to change terms of service

Facebook will adopt new rules that give its users more control over the content they post on the social network, after close to three-quarters of users who participated voted for the changes.

Facebook will adopt new rules that give its users more control over the content they post on the social network, after close to three-quarters of users who participated voted for the changes.

The new documents specify that users own their information, not Facebook, and that Facebook's permission to use content posted to the site expires when users delete the content or terminate their accounts.

Facebook had said it would consider the changes to the terms of service binding if it received a voter turnout of 30 per cent of its 200 million regular users and the majority of users supported the changes.

Only 600,000 users voted over a week, however, or about one per cent of the votes required.

But Facebook said approximately 74.4 percent of users who voted chose the changes over the existing terms of service, and that overwhelming response was enough that they are moving ahead with the changes.

"We'd hoped to have a bigger turnout for this inaugural vote, but it is important to keep in mind that this vote was a first for users just like it was a first for Facebook," said Facebook's general counsel Ted Ullyot in a blog post late Thursday.

"We are hopeful that there will be greater participation in future votes. In the meantime, we're going to consider lowering the 30 per cent threshold that the Statement of Rights and Responsibilities establishes for a user vote to be binding," he said.

In February, Facebook had changed its terms of service, deleting a paragraph that allowed its 175 million users to remove content from the site at any time. The change touched off a storm of criticism from blogs, users and consumer advocates accusing Facebook of undermining user privacy.

Facebook's founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg responded, reversing the change and then opening the debate up to users over how information such as photos and video should be handled.

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