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Facebook vote a 'massive con trick' says privacy advocate

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Facebook has deliberately changed the rules around its much-hyped "user vote" to ensure that it won't have to follow decisions made.

The company originally said that if 25 per cent of users voted in favour of a change in its terms and conditions it would consider that binding. But that percentage has now gone up to 30 per cent.

Simon Davies of lobby group Privacy International said: "the idea of establishing a thirty percent participation threshold is a complete joke. It will never be reached, and Facebook knows it. Earlier this year the figure had been set at 25 percent, and it was edged up because of concerns that users might actually succeed in changing the terms and conditions”.

Davies, who originally supported the move, said specifying active users as those who have used their accounts in the last 30 days made reaching the target even more difficult. Indeed Davies is so confident that he and other senior staff members have promised to eat their shorts if the threshold is ever reached.

The process was established because of the row that broke out when Facebook changed its T&Cs in February to grant itself licence to all users' content forever, even if they deleted their accounts. Chief exec Mark Zuckerberg was later forced to reinstate the old terms.

Facebook users who joined before 26 February and have logged into the site at least once in the 30 days previous to that are entitled to vote. Voting ends 23 April at midday PDT.

There's more info, and voting for members, here.

This reminds us of the 1979 referendum on Scottish independence, which was scuppered by an amendment requiring any vote in favour to equal at least 40 per cent of the registered electorate. In the event 51 per cent voted in favour. This was only 33 per cent of the total electorate so independence was rejected. ®

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