Facebook instituted new terms and conditions in February which would have given the social networking site full ownership of images, videos, and data that users posted on their profiles.
This didn’t sit well with the site’s user base, who complained loudly.
So Facebook decided to create a new policy to put the question of new terms and conditions up for a user-wide vote. This is commendable, given their entire business model is based on social networking. If the users don’t use the site, the site has no value, but if the users participate in making the rules for the site and then actually participate, the site increases its value. Smart.
Facebook withdrew the changes and offered up a vote to its users. The votes were: to keep the new changes as they were, institute a new set that was offered (and didn’t have the full ownership phraseology), or not vote at all. Of the site’s 200 million users, only about 600,000 took part in the voting, which lasted about a week.
Low turnout could be blamed on the long-winded wording of the proposals themselves, but I think it’s mainly just pure laziness on the part of most Facebook users. Reading through that stuff to make an informed decision required time and brain power. I’m sure many thought they could come up with much better things to do with those two resources.
Regardless, the vote is in and 75% of those voting want the new terms that don’t imply their giving up full ownership of what they post on Facebook. So when you delete your profile on the site, you can take all of your marbles with you too.
Initially, by the way, Facebook also intended to include a “30% rule” in their procedures, requiring that 30% of the site’s users participate in the vote for that vote to be valid. They’ve rescinded that rule, however, and are going with the current vote.
Given that this was a first shot for the voting process on Facebook and a little clunky and it didn’t get much advertising to Facebook’s users, but it was a good first attempt.