The Facebook TOS vote ends today


facebook_small.jpgADOTAS — When Mark Zuckerberg said users were going to be involved in the revision of the social network’s terms of service, it made sense to me. Why not co-opt users instead of angering them.

But some social media mavens were less than convinced. (Their argument was that Facebook just needs to do what it thinks is right then explain it to people.) So while Zuckerberg posts positive videos talking about the governance issue, including allowing users to vote on changes, the truth might not be so clear.

According to Privacy International, Facebook has rigged the vote, even before it started. Facebook has told users that a vote is valid only if thirty percent of users participate.

“That would be a hard enough figure to reach even amongst the most active user population, but the company is applying the limit across all “active accounts” which it defines as being an account with any activity in the past thirty days.” Privacy International’s Director Simon Davies said in a statment. “While we support the concept of user participation, the idea of establishing a thirty percent participation threshold is a complete joke. It will never be reached, and Facebook knows it.”

Apparently, earlier this year the figure had been set at 25 percent, and it was edged up because of concerns that users might actually succeed in changing the terms and conditions.

Privacy International says that Facebook knows that other sites that have canvassed user votes on such things as site design have had only a fifteen to twenty percent vote.

“This is a great idea, ruined by an absurd and illusionary voting process. I understand Facebook is a for-profit company, but national governments don’t impose a threshold on voters, and nor should Facebook,” Davies said.

The vote ends today.

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