Facebook ends vote on site changes: Say goodbye to e-democracy

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By Staff /  11 Dec 2012 , 14:56

Facebook, which had opened voting on the site’s new governance policy on 4 December, has officially closed the polls. And it seems that due to lack of votes, Facebook is ending the power of users to vote for or reject future changes changes on the site.

According to Facebook’s site governance page, more than 30 percent of users had to vote to reject the changes. The page reads: As stated in both policies, if more than 30% of all active registered users vote, the results will be binding. If turnout is less than 30%, the vote will be advisory.

It seems that even though the referendum was overwhelmingly rejected by the members who voted, it was much less than the requisite 30 percent.

According to the results, nearly 589,141 of users votes against the proposed changes while 79,731 voted in favour. This means that nearly 87 percent of the 668872 people voted against this, but as it was well short of the 30 percent of Facebook’s registered 1 billion users, the vote won’t carry through.

User apathy has ensured that Facebook will now go ahead and change their policy. So what are the changes that Facebook is proposing?

Site Governance:Facebook will now remove the old method where people commented and voted for or against proposed changes on the site. The company argues that voting hasn’t been the most effective and qualitative way to understand what users want on the site. But Facebook hasn’t clarified how site governance will function once voting is done away with.

Qualitatively speaking voting might not always offer the best results but it can often show what the majority of people think of the proposed changes.

Get ready to share your data with Instagram. Getty Images

The Data policy changes:What this will do is allow Facebook permission to share data with its affiliate companies such as Instagram etc. This doesn’t mean that Facebook will now own your content, as a recent viral message had claimed.

But yes, data on Facebook that is public will be shared with other companies owned by Facebook and others it may acquire in the future. What this means is that even if you don’t have or have never used Instagram, your public data – your Name, Email id, Birthday etc, ( note this includes all information that is set to Public on your Facebook) – will be shared with Instagram.

Facebook Messages: You will no longer be able to control who can send messages to you on Facebook. Initially messages by those who were not on your friends list went to the Others folder but now they will go into your regular message inbox.

Finding you on Facebook: If you were not in favour of random people finding you on Facebook, that time is over. As the new policy outlines:

You can choose who can look up your timeline using the email address or telephone number you added to your timeline through your privacy settings. But remember, if you choose Friends, only your current Facebook friends will be able to find you this way that people can still find you or a link to your timeline on Facebook through other people and the things they share about you or through other posts, like if you are tagged in a friend’s photo or post something to a public page.[the slashed text is as it was represented in Facebook's policy page]

So yes, if you are tagged in a friends post or note, then their friends whom you may not know can find your timeline and add you back.


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