What Facebook vote?

An early morning blog post by Facebook's Ted Ullyot has noted the preliminary results of the site governance vote.

An early morning blog post by Facebook's Ted Ullyot has noted the preliminary results of the site governance vote. About 3/4 chose the new Facebook Principles and Statement of Rights and Responsibilities over the existing terms of use, he says.

While Facebook's approach to involving the community in developing its new terms is admirable, there is a glaring problem with the vote that makes me question the results: Less than 1% of Facebook members participated.

According to Ullyot, who serves as the company's general counsel, more than 600,000 people cast their votes before polling ended on Thursday. While that's a significant number, it's a drop in the bucket compared to the more than 200 million people who belong to Facebook. If this were a public referendum, it's quite likely the vote would be considered invalid.

So what happened? It's certainly not a case of apathy -- the widespread condemnation of Facebook's unilateral move in February to change its terms of service prompted the company to back down after a few days and revise its governance policies.

But what Facebook failed to do was adequately publicize the vote this month. Ullyot states that the company made "significant efforts" to spread the word, by showing messages and advertisements and even translating the documents and the voting application into French, Spanish, Italian, and German. However, many users who left comments on Ullyot's blog claim that they didn't see these messages , or only found out about it through mainstream press coverage. Here's a sample of the reaction:

Toni Romano:

I had no idea this was happening until I heard it on NPR yesterday morning, AFTER it was too late to vote. How could this be as I'm on Facebook several times a day?

Leslie Shiers:

The only reason I knew the vote was happening, and why, was because of the New York magazine article that ran a few weeks ago. I forgot all about it until a posting at the top of the FB homepage caught my eye. Normally I gloss over those, so it's no wonder turnout was low. I tried to pass the word along to friends via my status, but the time limit was almost up. More promotion or a louder announcement of the vote and issues behind it would have probably resulted in better turnout. I'm confident the FB community would actively vote if there were more awareness.

Scott Bell:

If you wanted good turnout it would have been nice to be reminded a bit more. We may be spoiled by the press reminding us about elections so that we cannot help but remember to plan for it. Two suggestions: 1) Allow for an alarm to be set to remind us to vote -- hopefully with an email; 2) Give us an option to email the T/C for offline reading. I rarely have tons of time when online -- just enough to update a status and 'like' someone else's FB actions.

Ullyot admits that the company had hoped for a bigger turnout. In the meantime, he says Facebook will "consider lowering the 30-percent threshold that the Statement of Rights and Responsibilities establishes for a user vote to be binding." Of course, a problem with that approach is there may not be enough voters to approve such a change.

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags Facebooksocial networking

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Ian Lamont

The Industry Standard
Show Comments

Cool Tech

Toys for Boys

Family Friendly

Stocking Stuffer

SmartLens - Clip on Phone Camera Lens Set of 3

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Aysha Strobbe

Microsoft Office 365/HP Spectre x360

Microsoft Office continues to make a student’s life that little bit easier by offering reliable, easy to use, time-saving functionality, while continuing to develop new features that further enhance what is already a formidable collection of applications

Michael Hargreaves

Microsoft Office 365/Dell XPS 15 2-in-1

I’d recommend a Dell XPS 15 2-in-1 and the new Windows 10 to anyone who needs to get serious work done (before you kick back on your couch with your favourite Netflix show.)

Maryellen Rose George

Brother PT-P750W

It’s useful for office tasks as well as pragmatic labelling of equipment and storage – just don’t get too excited and label everything in sight!

Cathy Giles

Brother MFC-L8900CDW

The Brother MFC-L8900CDW is an absolute stand out. I struggle to fault it.

Luke Hill

MSI GT75 TITAN

I need power and lots of it. As a Front End Web developer anything less just won’t cut it which is why the MSI GT75 is an outstanding laptop for me. It’s a sleek and futuristic looking, high quality, beast that has a touch of sci-fi flare about it.

Emily Tyson

MSI GE63 Raider

If you’re looking to invest in your next work horse laptop for work or home use, you can’t go wrong with the MSI GE63.

Featured Content

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?