Facebook site governance vote closes, announcement on changes to follow

11 Dec 2012

Later today, Facebook is expected to respond to the results of its (possibly last ever) site governance vote in which 668,872 votes were cast, with 88pc against proposed changes to its policy documents.

Voting opened on 3 December and closed at 8pm yesterday, at which time Facebook posted this message to the Facebook Site Governance page: “The Facebook Site Governance vote is now closed. Thank you for your participation. We will be announcing the results and the next steps regarding the governance process shortly, so check back soon.”

Voters had two options: to keep Facebook’s Data Use Policy and Statement of Rights and Responsibilities (SRR) as they are, or to approve changes to these documents proposed by Facebook.

The key changes causing the most debate among users were allowing Facebook to share user data with its partners (such as Instagram) and scrapping the current site governance process in which users get to vote on these matters.

According to this process, a 30pc voter turnout is required for results to be binding. With Facebook’s colossal membership, this equates to 300m users.

Only 668,872 votes were cast, though: 589,141 in favour of keeping the documents as they are, and 79,731 in favour of the updates. While this is almost double the number of voters in Facebook’s last site governance vote, the results mean just as little.

While Facebook has said the result will be taken under advisement, we’ll have to wait and see if this has any effect on the implementation of the proposed changes.

Elaine Burke is the host of For Tech’s Sake, a co-production from Silicon Republic and The HeadStuff Podcast Network. She was previously the editor of Silicon Republic.