Facebook moves ahead with new terms of use

Vote on new terms had low participation but high approval, general counsel says

Facebook, the world's most used social-networking site, will soon move ahead with revised rules for how it operates following a row with users earlier this year.

The company's new guiding documents, called the Facebook Principles and Statement of Rights and Responsibilities, will be adopted, wrote Ted Ullyot, Facebook's general counsel, on the site's blog.

Those documents were put to a vote, but Ullyot said the company had hoped for a bigger turnout.

Of 200 million registered users, about 600,000 people participated, with nearly three quarters of those favoring the new documents.

An outside auditor is reviewing the vote, and it's expected the documents will be implemented in a few weeks.

Facebook set a goal that a vote would be binding if 30 percent of all users approved the changes, but that threshhold may be lowered. "We are hoping there will be greater participation in future votes," Ullyot wrote.

Facebook landed itself in hot water earlier this year after The Consumerist, a consumer advocacy site, noticed that a change in its terms of use gave the company control over data that users had deleted.

Shortly after people vociferously complained, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg reverted to the old terms of use while the company initiated a campaign to let users contribute and review changes.

Ullyot wrote that several vocal critics of the changes now endorse the new documents, including Jonathan Zittrain, co-director of Harvard's Berkman Center for Internet and Society, The Consumerist as well as Julius Harper and Anne Kathrine Petteroe, who both founded the largest Facebook group opposing the changes.

Future changes will also be put to public review on Facebook's Site Governance Page.

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Jeremy Kirk

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