Facebook’s brief experiment with democracy is over. The company closed voting at 3 p.m. EST today on whether users should cast ballots on future changes to privacy and data-collection policies, with 88% of the total of 668,872 people voting opposing changes that would end member voting rights.
But since far less than the required 30% of Facebook’s 1 billion users bothered to vote, the social network will go ahead with plans to eliminate user voting on site governance and share users’ information with affiliates such as Instagram, which it acquired this year. A third revision involves tweaking users’ control over what incoming messages they receive.
Advocacy groups such as the Electronic Privacy Information Center and the Center for Digital Democracy in November urged Facebook members to oppose the changes, suggesting they could be unlawful and may violate prior commitments to users about site governance. On Monday, consumer group SomeOfUs slammed what it called the “sham election” on the proposed policy updates.
“The current system requires a ridiculous 1/3 of all Facebook users to vote, an implausible number that is so hard to reach that it has no practical impact on Facebook's decision-making,” said Taren Stinebrickner-Kauffman, executive director of SumOfUs.org, in a statement.
Facebook users were given a week to vote on the new governance and privacy policies. While users were overwhelmingly against the revisions, marketers will likely welcome the opportunity to harness Facebook user data to eventually target ads on Instagram.