Entries in Site Governance Process (2)


Facebook Vote Ends, Along with Your Right to Vote on Facebook

Peter Foley/Bloomberg via Getty Images(PALO ALTO, Calif.) -- What if they threatened to shut down your right to vote and nobody cared? ‘Tis the story of Facebook’s recent site vote, which closed Monday at 12:00 p.m. PT.

Last week Facebook opened the polls for users to vote on changes to its Data Use Policy and Statement of Rights and Responsibilities (SRR).  It included several proposed changes, most of them arcane; one of the biggest was users’ right to vote on Facebook’s policies. The new version of the of the SRR, which users were allowed to vote on, removed the voting clause altogether, meaning that going forward Facebook users wouldn’t be able to vote on proposed issues.

Well, it turns out that many Facebook users don’t really care about that right to vote.  They didn’t even show up at the digital polls in the first place. Fewer than a million of Facebook’s billion users voted.

According to the tally on Facebook’s page, the majority of the users who did vote — 589,141 to be precise — voted to keep the existing documents, which would allow users still to vote.  On the other side, 79,731 users said they were in favor of the proposed revisions. Facebook requires that 30 percent of users vote (300 million) for any of the votes to be binding; with under a million voting, that clearly didn’t occur.

“The Facebook Site Governance vote is now closed. Thank you for your participation. We will be announcing the results and the next steps regarding the governance process shortly, so check back soon,” Facebook wrote on its Governance page.  Facebook didn’t have any further comment when reached by ABC News, but it certainly looks like Facebook’s voting system is a thing of the past.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Get Out and Vote for Your Right to Vote on Facebook

Facebook(PALO ALTO, Calif.) -- It's time to head to the polls -- the Facebook polls, that is. It could be the last (even if it's the first) time you ever do.

Facebook has opened its online polls, allowing its more than a billion users to vote on a several new proposals, including one about Facebook voting.

At issue is a lot of stuff about Facebook's Data Use Policy and Statement of Rights and Responsibilities (SRR). But the part that has gotten the most attention is a proposed change to the "site governance process," doing away with a system that allows users to vote on changes.

The previous SRR states: "If more than 7,000 users post a substantive comment on a particular proposed change, we will also give you the opportunity to participate in a vote in which you will be provided alternatives. The vote shall be binding on us if more than 30 percent of all active registered users as of the date of the notice vote."

The new version, on which Facebook users can now vote, removes the voting clause altogether.

"Many of you agreed that Facebook has outgrown the current system, which is no longer the most effective way to help people engage in our site governance process. Many supported our goal of facilitating direct discussions with you -- such as through the 'Ask Our Chief Privacy Officer' feature," Facebook wrote in an explanation of the changes.

Facebook actually points out that voter turnout has always been relatively low. In April 2009 about 665,000 votes were cast. Last June about 342,000 votes were cast. According to Facebook, neither reached the threshold for the vote to be binding.

"Some of you were concerned that by ending the vote mechanism, you were losing your ability to shape the policies that govern Facebook," Facebook adds in the explanation of the changes. "To be clear, our goal in modifying our site governance process is to make sure that we receive feedback from you in the best, most productive way possible so that we can be responsive to your input."

There are other issues. In the Data Use Policy, Facebook is also changing how it shares anonymous user data with its family of companies. Part of this change is to accommodate Facebook's acquisition of Instagram.

"Additionally, as many people know, we recently acquired Instagram. This provision covers Instagram and allows us to store Instagram's server logs and administrative records in a way that is more efficient than maintaining totally separate storage systems," Facebook said.

All Facebook users can vote now on these and other changes at Users are presented with two choices -- the proposed documents and the existing documents. As of this writing, over 111,000 users had voted to keep the existing document; just over 10,000 voted for the proposed changes. For those looking for more details, Facebook has posted the entire proposed document and highlighted what is new and old.

Voting will end on Dec. 10 at 12:00 p.m. PST. Better get to it -- it could be the last time you vote on Facebook.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio