Facebook kills democracy


After a week of open voting, fewer than 700,000 people participated in the Facebook Governance Vote to approve or reject users' right to vote on changes to the site's governing documents.

Facebook gave users their last chance to participate in its democratic experiment, asking users to vote to accept or reject a change to a 2009 privacy policy rule that gave users the chance to vote to accept or reject changes to the privacy policy.


If that sounds like a circular argument, it is: what the social network is essentially doing is asking you to vote for you own right to approve or reject changes to the rules by which Facebook can interact with you and your information.

How did this all come to be?

A few years ago, Facebook changed its rules so that, going forward, every rule change it made would be subject to a vote by users. The only catch? At least 30 percent of Facebook users would need to participate in the vote--or about 300 million people--or else the vote is only considered advisory.

In fact, no rules change has ever passed the 30 percent threshold necessary for Facebook to adhere to users' wishes. The failure of the voting program prompted the site to rescind the option--pending one last vote.


With voting closed at 12:00 p.m. PT Monday, it's clear that Facebook will indeed strike the voting procedures. Although participants overwhelmingly supported keeping the voting option--to the tune of nearly 90 percent--no where near enough people cast votes to invoke the result.

Final results

For proposed changes (removing voting): 79,731 Against proposed changes (keep voting): 589,141

Total votes: 668,872 Participation needed for vote to count: Approximately 300,000,000

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