Facebook Will Implement Changes And Eliminate Policy Voting But Explore Alternative Governance

Facebook just announced the official, audited results of its final site governance vote. Though it will remove voting from its governance structure, it plans to “implement new, innovative and effective ways to enhance this process.” Well under 1 percent of users voted, and the final tally was 589,141 people opposed to the changes, and 79,731 in favor.

“While participation in the vote was minimal, this experience illustrated the clear value of our notice and comment process,” Facebook said. “Your substantive feedback on our proposals during the seven-day comment period, along with discussions with our global regulators, resulted in clarifications and revisions to those proposals.” Here Facebook is trying to stress that it was able to gather feedback without the vote, and will be able to do so in the future.

Facebook had the opportunity to listen to the 88 percent of users who voted against the changes and voluntarily opt not to implement the new versions of its Statement Of Rights And Responsibilities and Data Use Policy. But instead it says that “we have decided to adopt the proposed updates to our SRR and Data Use Policy.” The changes go into effect immediately.

Still, Facebook gave some hope to users who wished for some kind of site governance compromise between the broken voting system that was in place and its elimination entirely. Perhaps one day it will offer a sort of “veto” power to the user base to allow it to block changes they feel could jeopardize their privacy, security, or the utility of Facebook.

Elliot Schrage, Vice President, Communications, Public Policy and Marketing, explained:

“We understand that many of you feel strongly about maintaining the participatory nature of our site governance process. We do too. We believe that having a meaningful dialogue with our community through our notice and comment process is core to that effort moving forward. We also plan to explore and implement new, innovative and effective ways to enhance this process in order to maximize user engagement.”