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Facebook, democracy part ways as voting falls far short of threshold

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Nur Bremmen: Staff reporter
Nur is an enigma with a passion for creating words. He recently entered a love affair with technology and chorizo sausages. He travels a lot -- you... More

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Facebook is no longer a democracy. Late yesterday, the social network’s billion or so users lost the ability to vote on changes on the social network.

As we recently reported, Facebook is looking to make changes to the documents that govern how it is run. Among those was removing the ability for people to vote on any proposed changes.

In order for Facebook users to have kept the ability to vote, 30% of them would have had to vote on the proposed changes. As it was, under 700 000 people voted. Whichever way you split it, that’s not nearly enough users.

When Facebook announced the proposed changes, it said it was proposing scrapping the ability for people to vote on the changes, because the voting system “resulted in a system that incentivized the quantity of comments over their quality“.

The small voter turnout also means that Facebook will be able to make string of other changes too. It will for instance, be able to share user data with partners like Instagram.

A number of consumer rights groups have expressed opposition to the proposed changes, with one coalition arguing that it “raises questions about Facebook’s willingness to take seriously the participation of Facebook users”.

As The Next Web notes, we shouldn’t really have expected any widespread interest in the vote. The last time Facebook did a similar exercise, around the same number of people voted.