Facebook's final user vote has come to a close at long last, putting an end to the social network's extremely unsuccessful attempt at an online form of democracy.
In 2009, Facebook announced that any change in site policy receiving 7,000 or more comments would be pushed to a vote for users of the site to engage in. Three votes have since taken place, all of them ending with disastrously disappointing results. It turns out that the average user apparently had no idea that such a vote was going on. On this third and final occasion, an extremely meager 0.067 percent of the site's population participated. That makes 668,872 votes out of one billion users.
Facebook will now be adopting an altered policy, effectively putting an end to the life of a sad and miserable government.
In fact, the policy change was voted against by 88% of voting users. However, the votes only count as long as they represent 30% of Facebook's population – a little figure which here means no less than 330,000,000 people. As stated, this did not occur. Thus, Facebook is now free to make decisions without consulting the votes of its users.
Does Facebook in any way resemble a Roman forum…?
This news may come as a surprise to some who are familiar with the tendency of Internet dwellers to criticize their surroundings. Facebook has become an especially famous environment for this ironic mentality, in which users complain about the changes of the social platform they refuse to dump.
However, while some users may love to rant about new site features and changes to policies, that doesn't mean that they are willing to go through the arduous process of reading lengthy documents before casting decisions. As one reader of arstechnica points out,
“The only way they'd get a 30% turnout is if they made the ballot 2 simple sentences and put it at the top of your feed until you voted.”
It is clear that for a successful attempt at an online form of democracy, simpler methods than those of conventional governments must be employed. This strikes a difficult balance between a quick and easy method of voting, and adequately informing users about their choices.
Whatever the case, one thing is for sure; if anyone is to pioneer successful digital democracy, it will not be Facebook.
So, if Facebook decides it wants to stick an unwieldy banner on the top of your flawless user page – tough.