Fake Democracy at Facebook

You got that recent notification about the Facebook vote, right? Oh, no? You didn’t? But you got some notification that your friend commented on some other friend’s status? Or that someone added a stupid Facebook application?

Oh, you haven’t heard about the Facebook vote at all? I’m not surprised. Facebook hasn’t really publicized it. I mean, Mark Zuckerberg wrote about it on the Facebook blog… because all Facebook users read that, of course. Yeah.

Do you know what Mark Zuckerberg wrote?

For this vote and any future one, the results will be binding if at least 30 percent of active Facebook users at the time that the vote was announced participate.

Let’s see. So there are 175,000,000 Facebook users, and they need 30% to vote. Do you know how many have voted so far?

Facebook Vote So Far
At the time of this writing, 283,361 Facebook users have voted. That’s 0.16% of Facebook users, and we have until next Thursday to make up another 29.84% (or 52,220,000) users. Um, not going to happen.

The tech news is reporting this as a some kind of Facebook democracy, but how is it democracy if you hide the vote? I found out about it only because I keep up with tech news. I can guarantee you maybe only one or two or my Facebook friends (maybe even zero) know about this vote. Why not just say the vote will be whoever shows up? Can you imagine if government elections were decided based on a certain percentage of the voter population having to vote? No. If you don’t vote, you don’t count. It makes no sense to say that those who do show up don’t count (which is essentially what they’re doing). And, worse yet, you can’t have an election if you don’t let people know about it. Facebook users are not automatically subscribed to Mark Zuckerberg’s blog. Unless they keep up with tech news, they get no notification whatsoever that there’s any kind of vote.

Well, if you’re reading this now and are a Facebook user also, go vote now. At least you can say you tried and somewhat care about your privacy and user rights. Maybe we can even get up to a full 1%. Whoop de do!


  1. It’s not democracy… not because nobody knew about the vote (this is the first I’ve heard of it BTW), but because Facebook is controlled by a company not a government or even a comittee with public oversight. It’s a dictatorship, if you want to continue the analogy.

    They’re just having a vote for the hell of it. They know no significant percentage of users are going to abandon the service over a privacy policy. Layout changes are probably a bigger risk to them.

    If you want a vote, buy shares.

  2. I had a banner on the main page after I logged in that was about this vote. I’m not sure about others as my friends haven’t mentioned this.

    Seeing as Facebook’s profits rely almost completely on user’s using the site and seeing the ads voting seems like a logical step for them (assuming it doesn’t turn out like American politics), but this seems barely above a gimmick, as most won’t read the policies.

  3. i left facebook for that reason… it’s a dictatorship. facebook can kick me off (kill me virtually) or do whatever they want with my comments. they can even censor them! i left them because their rules were tired and stupid and i got a warning because people ganged up on me and all reported me. facebook is an evil corporation with control of (now) 750,000,000 people. how does that happen? how is that fair?

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