Starting today, you have a week to cast your vote in what will most likely be the last Facebook Site Governance vote ever. The company has announced the opening of the latest vote, which covers Facebook's attempt to get rid of the vote as a mechanism for dealing with governance and policy changes. With their vote, users will also be speaking out on certain other important changes to Facebook's Data Use policy.
A couple of weeks ago, Facebook announced that they wished to eliminate the current process of voting on proposed governance and policy changes. They claimed to have "outgrown" the system, which triggers a vote on any change if a 7,000-comment threshold is reached. In lieu of this voting system, Facebook has suggested open dialogue sessions and Q&As with privacy officers.
The 7,000-comment threshold was quickly hit on this post, which triggered the vote that begins today. So yes, users now get to vote on whether or not to strip themselves of the right to vote.
"Some of you were concerned that by ending the vote mechanism, you were losing your ability to shape the policies that govern Facebook. To be clear, our goal in modifying our site governance process is to make sure that we receive feedback from you in the best, most productive way possible so that we can be responsive to your input. Many of you provided us with ideas on how we could continue to meet that goal. You pointed out that our decision to update the process gives us an opportunity to innovate and search for new and better ways to enhance participation. We agree and will incorporate your suggestions into creating new tools that enhance communication on Facebook about privacy and governance," says Facebook in an explanation of changes posted today.
Other than the voting mechanism, this current Site Governance vote covers data sharing with affiliates, changes to Facebook Messages, and changes to data availability with regards to the Timeline. You can check out Facebook's explanation of these policy changes here.
To vote, held on over to the Governance Voting app. In order for a vote to be binding, 30% of Facebook users have to participate. That's roughly 300 million users. If fewer than 30% turn out to vote, the results are simply "advisory," meaning Facebook can do what they want. considering a whopping 342,632 users (.038%) voted in the last Site Governance vote, it's safe to say that these changes will probably be pushed through in a week's time.
You have until December 10th at noon PT to cast your vote.