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Polls Are Open for Vote at Facebook

As we discussed a little while back, Facebook is going for the democratic (not the party) approach of putting the proposed changes to their terms of service to a vote. The polls opened yesterday and thefacebook-logo idea is that with the users of Facebook ‘making the call’ there can no longer be an uproar over Facebook making changes unilaterally.

On the Facebook blog, founder Mark Zuckerberg outlines the new policy with the crux of it being

You will have two options on the ballot, as shown below: 1) the new Facebook Principles and Statement of Rights and Responsibilities (SRR), which incorporate feedback from users and experts received during the 30-day comment period, or 2) the current Terms of Use, which were developed by Facebook and did not go through an outside comment period.

Let’s cut to the chase. The only way the new terms get instituted is if at least 30% of active users of Facebook at the time of the vote actually vote at all. That’s a pretty tall order considering that most of the Facebook users I know would be surprised to know there is even a blog. Oh and by the way, if this particular opportunity is not met with enthusiasm it will be business as usual for the most part.

If these new documents are approved, all future changes to the Statement of Rights and Responsibilities will go through the same process of notice and comment, and may be put to a vote if enough people comment. Even if these new proposed documents are defeated, we will still find ways to involve you in the governance process; however, this involvement will need to be explicitly stated in a future version of the Terms of Use.

So if you are really interested in having a say in the future of Facebook governance you better get your vote in before April 23rd. Of course, unless 30% of the active users (which is a large and undefinable number that only, you guessed it, Facebook knows anyway) are involved it’ll be just like old times. See you at the polls!

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