Users give Facebook's privacy changes a thumbs down

Voting on Facebook’s proposed changes to its privacy policy concluded Friday morning Pacific time, with voters delivering a strong rebuke of the proposed changes but falling far short of the turnout the company required to consider the vote binding.

Just 13 percent of voters supported Facebook’s proposed policy changes. However, the voter turnout of 342,600 came to just 0.1 percent of the number Facebook required to make the vote binding.

Facebook said it would accept the vote as binding if 30 percent of its 901 million active users voted. The required worldwide turnout of more than 270 million users would have required a voting bloc equal to roughly 86 percent of the United States population as estimated by the U.S. Census.

“A very very small minority of people that use Facebook voted, which was pretty disappointing from our point of view,” Facebook spokeswoman Jaime Schopflin said.

She noted that the changes were intended to clarify existing practices, in response to regulators in the United States and Europe.

“We’re realizing that this is a process that doesn’t work. We are bound to our regulators, but at the same time we do really, really value user feedback. We need to find a way to combine both of those things.”

The company said it would consider the vote advisory if participation fell short of the required number.

Updated at 2:50 p.m. PT with comments from Facebook.

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