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Facebook confirms results of vote, will change policies

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Facebook said Tuesday that it will change its privacy policies, verifying that while more half a million people voted against the changes, the site didn’t see anywhere near the 30 percent user turnout required to make that consensus compulsory.

At final count, 668,872 of Facebook’s 1 billion users voted on the policies. That was a far cry from the 300 million required to make a change, but a higher turnout than previous Facebook votes: 589,141 users voted to keep the existing policies; 79,731 voted for the changes.

Facebook e-mailed users about the vote — in several languages — and said that while the voter participation wasn’t high, the number of people who participated indicates that its notification system is working.

The policy changes eliminate Facebook’s voting mechanism and also make changes to the way it shares anonymous user information with its affiliates, namely Instagram. Other changes include adding language to clarify the difference between privacy settings and timeline visibility settings and updating the advertising policies to make it clear that user posts can be used in ads for political or religious views.

In a company blog post, Facebook vice president of communications Elliot Schrage said that the network wants to foster a “meaningful dialogue” with its users.

“We understand that many of you feel strongly about maintaining the participatory nature of our site governance process,” Schrage wrote. “We do too.”

Schrage advised users to like the Facebook and Privacy Page as well as the Facebook Site Governance Page to be notified about future changes to the policy.

(Washington Post Co. chairman and chief executive Don Graham is a member of Facebook’s board of directors.)

Related stories: Facebook voting is open; majority voting to keep existing proposals Facebook proposes to end voting on privacy issues Facebook nation — privacy loses to indifference Sign up today to receive #thecircuit, a daily roundup by Hayley Tsukayama of the latest tech policy news from Washington and how it is shaping business, entertainment and science.

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