Facebook’s taking away the vote from its users

Facebook has proposed taking away voting privileges from its users when it comes to important site governance changes.

Voting on certain site and policy changes has long been a feature of Facebook. As comms VP Elliot Schrage noted today on the company blog, “Our goal has always been to find ways to effectively engage your views when we propose changes to our governing policies. That commitment guided our decision in 2009 to launch an unprecedented process for user feedback.”

But 1 billion users later, the current voting system — which count Facebook comments as votes — doesn’t work as well. Noting that the mechanism counts quantity over quality, Schrage said voting no longer serves its original purpose.

“Therefore, we’re proposing to end the voting component of the process in favor of a system that leads to more meaningful feedback and engagement,” he said. “In the coming weeks, we will roll out new ways of responding to your questions and comments about Facebook.”

The new modes of communication include live, online events and a new Ask the Chief Privacy Officer section on the site to answer users’ questions and address concerns about privacy, security, and usage of personal data.

What Schrage didn’t say is that relatively few Facebook users were voting on proposed changes, anyhow, making an admittedly poorly thought-out system even more irrelevant to Facebook’s governance.

For example, the social network held a vote this past summer on proposed privacy changes; although Facebookers said more than 1 billion notices about the voting process were served to Facebook users, fewer than 10 percent of users ended up voting.

In addition to the no-more-voting proposal, today’s note also includes a proposed update to Facebook’s Data Use Policy, including new documentation and features for managing who can send you Facebook Messages, who cans see your Facebook posts, and how posts about you show up on the site.

hat tip: TechCrunch, Josh Constine


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