Facebook wants to scrap user votes on policy changes

Posted by Emma Woollacott

Sometime today, if you're a Facebook user, you'll get an email from the company asking you to vote away your right to vote on the company's governance.

Until now, if proposed changes to the site have attracted more than 7,000 comments, users get a chance to vote on them - and if more than 30 percent take part and vote against, the change is scrapped.

Now, though, Facebook wants to abandon this vote.

"We deeply value the feedback we receive from you during our comment period but have found that the voting mechanism created a system that incentivized quantity of comments over the quality of them," reads the email.

"So, we are proposing to end the voting component in order to promote a more meaningful environment for feedback."

The official line on the change is that, since the vote was introduced, Facebook has become just too big  for it to be appropriate; 7,000 comments is a threshold that's just too easy to achieve.

But there's another reason too. Austrian law student Max Schrems has been a thorn in the company's side for some time, with his Europe Vs Facebook campaign calling on users to oppose privacy changes en masse. Back in April, his our-policy.org initiative managed to garner more than 40,000 supporters for a list of demands.

Not surprisingly, Schrems is deeply critical of this latest proposal.

"Our reaction is simple," he says. "We have reactivated our-policy.org. The page got a little facelift and we added a new demand: 'We want Facebook to further allow users to comment and vote on any new changes'."