back to article Facebook T&Cs vote falls 299.5 million short of quorum

Facebook's three-year experiment with user democracy now looks doomed, with a vote over the social network's new terms and conditions coming just under 299,500,000 votes short of the total needed to block the changes. The proposed changes will eliminate the current user voting system, which was established in 2009 as a token …


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  1. loopy lou

    Gogol would have been proud.

    My cat has a facebook account. She died a few months ago but they still send her email.

    1. FunkyEric

      Re: Gogol would have been proud.

      Sorry to hear about your cat. Hopefully they have kitty facebook in heaven.

      1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

        Re: Gogol would have been proud.

        Who names his cat Gogol? Have your read Bilal, perchance?

  2. nuked

    Well they need to counter their humiliating flotation somehow..

  3. g e

    Which might be read as

    No one trusts farcebook any more anyway and are already going elsewhere so MEH

    OK, possibly a little wistful.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Call me a cynic if you wish but ....

    Only a cynic would suggest that Facebook absolutely knew beforehand that a third of one billion accounts are fake or unused.

    Was the vote only open for a minute or were not many others using it either?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Call me a cynic if you wish but ....

      Surely a company like FB has the ability to look at average logins, last login, etc. per account and use that to determine if it's real. Given the nature of FB usage (e.g., check every 5 minutes when bored at work), one login 6 months ago = dead account. These days two weeks without a login probably means it's dead...

    2. Fred Flintstone Gold badge

      Re: Call me a cynic if you wish but ....

      I must grudgingly admit that that was actually a brilliant use of their dead accounts - make it look like a decision was "accepted by users".

      Time to close my test accounts, I've seen enough. Not worth the risk and time, even as experiment..

    3. streaky

      Re: Call me a cynic if you wish but ....

      Facebook don't bother verifying emails before letting people go nuts adding friends and liking stuff. If somebody estimated 2/3 of Facebook accounts were fake I'd happily call it a gross underestimate. Then there's a huge pile on top that are abandoned.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I don't even remember *seeing* an invite to vote for anything. Surely it's only democracy if you let the punters know the vote is actually happening.

    1. Magani

      The invite WAS available...

      It was on display in the bottom of a locked filing cabinet stuck in a disused lavatory with a sign on the door saying 'Beware of the Leopard'.

      RIP Douglas.

    2. Ole Juul

      Silent Majority

      I don't even remember *seeing* an invite to vote for anything. Surely it's only democracy if you let the punters know the vote is actually happening.

      I sent links to a number of avid Facebook users, and my notice was the first they'd heard of it. Like Fred Flintstone (above) suggests, this was a clever use of the dead user accounts. I think this whole thing was better publicised among those of us who don't use Facebook.

    3. LateNightLarry


      I don't remember "seeing" an invite to vote either... I read about it from another source, and after fifteen minutes of poking around, found the site to vote... and FB refused to process or acknowledge my vote... Which leaves open the possibility that FB/Zuckerberg saw how the vote was going and just disabled the vote process so the next to impossible to reach requirement became, in fact, impossible to downvote the proposed changes.

      Fail... because that's where FB is headed.

    4. streaky

      They sent it out to everybody who has the SIte Governance app activated. I certainly tried to make people were aware, for my part in it.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    IT Angle


    I keep reading about this "democracy" of Facebook, but I've never even browsed Facebook let alone had an account, so maybe I'm not informed enough to merit this post. But, 300 million human votes? That would imply 900 million real people use Facebook actively. Even without the dead accounts being factored in, I'm not sure that would be possible. However, if Facebook supposedly prevails in social networking, and they didn't even get a third of a third (1/3/3) of their users to vote, then something isn't "networking" properly.

    I take it that this was just a marketing campaign that backfired and now they have to sink it, without attaching the word "democracy" to the plunge. Or maybe they will get bail out money and keep the dream alive!

  7. The Alpha Klutz

    im pretty confident facebook will be dead by 2016

    there's only so long you can "run a business" that makes no money and is openly an NSA/CIA front company.

    1. Zog The Undeniable

      Re: im pretty confident facebook will be dead by 2016

      Facebook does make money - about $1bn a year profit, although that's paltry compared to its valuation at the time of flotation.

      Not sure about your second point, but I imagine it's too good for the spooks to resist.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I was trying to find any indication of where to vote

    Still not seen any. Not from the governance pages or from the home page.

    Guessing that would have been the case for most of the billion people who wanted to vote :-)

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    which vote?

    How do you press forward with your (unpopular) plans and still appear somewhat democratic?

    1. make the period where people can vote short

    2. set the minimum number of participants for it to be valid rather high

    3a. do NOT inform anyone by email (and hope they don't log in either)

    3b. but DO keep spamming them with other irrelevant stuff that happened in their absence

    And bingo! Vote invalid and they can tell their users that they gave them the opportunity, but only a minority of the user base [including fake/dead profiles] opposed. Back to business as usual (that is bending privacy laws and concerns as much as possible).

    1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

      Re: which vote?

      Yep, that's the program being implemented by the Mayor around here how is tyring to get out his debt crater by increasing taxable headcount. He's selling "not informing anyone" as "streamlining the democratic process" though.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: which vote?

      "3a. do NOT inform anyone by email (and hope they don't log in either)"

      Really? I got an email for the two accounts I have. AC because facebook might just try to find out who I am ...

      1. Brewster's Angle Grinder Silver badge

        Re: "I got an email for the two accounts I have"

        I hope you voted twice, too.

    3. D@v3

      Re: 3a

      would that be the email I received dated 5/12/12?

  10. admiraljkb

    Anyone else think that the votes is a good indication of the actual active users?

    Title says most of it... I'm curious what the current active users are? (and by active I mean more than twice a week) Seems like most folks around me only check it once a week or so nowadays. The wife and daughter are on Pinterest all the time.

    1. Ole Juul

      Re: Anyone else think that the votes is a good indication of the actual active users?

      I wouldn't go quite so far as to suggest that there are only 1/2 million active users. However, the number is so far removed from the 1 billion claimed users that it takes the breath away. Not even close to 1/10% suggests something is seriously amiss.

      Someone suggested above that FB would have the means to judge the number of active accounts by seeing when there last was a login. I'm thinking that they are likely to deny that ability, because the number could have some serious legal ramifications regarding their IPO and all the lawsuits that resulted.

  11. This post has been deleted by its author

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    I'm only on Facebook 2-3 times a week....

    but I don't recall seeing anything about a vote on Ts & Cs when I was on....

  13. Don Jefe

    Facebook Marketing Dept. Response

    The link to the voting page was posted on your Timeline and published to almost 1 BILLION people via emails and posted on the terms and conditions link at the bottom of every page you visit while logged into Facebook. If you didn't see it you were not looking or not actively participating in the online democracy beloved by almost none of our users.

    We at Facebook made a decision in Q3 2012 to phase out users who only want to use our product for free and never bother clicking on advertisements even though a large part of the user component knows that advertisements are the only reason why their 314 friends knew their dog has the shits, the cat hacked up a furrball and the baby's poop looks like we now know where the missing LEGO's went. If you don't want a bunch of spam and intrusive marketing then don't use the FREE services you claim to love so much, and you DO use them. We KNOW.

    We also know that even if the company tanks tomorrow nearly everyone involved in writing this demoralizing and dehumanizing email will bring home more money than your entire family will during your lifetime. We really and honestly don't care what you think*.

    Facebook Inc.

    *Any thoughts created, expressed, construed, discussed or otherwise constructed during the reading of this email by an authenticated user grants Facebook Inc. permanent and non-regressive rights to any and all of the aforementioned with the first right of remediation being mediation held in our offices with a large angry gun wielding man behind you. If you do agree click 'Please don't kill me.' If you do not agree click 'Where's my daughter - OK.'

    1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

      Re: Facebook Marketing Dept. Response


      1. Fred Flintstone Gold badge

        Re: Facebook Marketing Dept. Response

        Yes, but I very much prefer "up vote" - because it also gives me down vote. I like the idea of having ALL options to express an opinion instead of sugarcoated crap..

  14. FunkyEric

    Ahhhhhh democracy in action

    When is our delightful government going to adopt the right to ignore us unless enough of us vote to stop them. Sounds like a great idea :-)

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    You don't own the data on Facebook

    THEY DO!

    Why would anyone think they would listen to the bitches?

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    why are people so upset with facebook?

    you signed up to it, you "like" it, you "need" it you eat this shit. You don't like the taste? Quit and get on with / without it like the other 5 billion people on this planet

  17. JDX Gold badge

    Big Deal

    The fact anyone expects them to act democratically in the first place seems a bit daft. A company would be foolish to allow a mechanism where users can dictate how things are run rather than merely suggest desired changes. the site is FB's property, it's their responsibility to decide how they run it - and users should vote with their feet just like any other product.

    1. streaky
      Black Helicopters

      Re: Big Deal

      "it's their responsibility to decide how they run it - and users should vote with their feet just like any other product"

      This is true but the reason it started is people *were* voting with their feet, so they put together a supposedly democratic system which worked fine until a few weeks ago when facebook forgot why the system is there in the first place.

      We voted, they ignored the vote because they didn't like the outcome like it's Egypt or something, had another vote with even more absurd voting target they don't like that and we'll see what happens. Civil war possibly. Oh wait no that's Egypt again..

  18. Alexander Hanff 1

    Did they sabotage their own vote?

    Facebook had a checkbox at the bottom of the vote page to share your vote with your friends - however, I ran several tests of this checkbox with several accounts and it didn't work. Seems clear to me that Facebook didn't want people to know the vote existed or that friends had voted against the changes.


    1. Don Jefe

      Re: Did they sabotage their own vote?

      It seems to us that by having multiple accounts on our site you have violated the stated terms and conditions of use. Prepare to be nullified Alexander Hanff.


      Facebook Inc.

      1. Alexander Hanff 1

        Re: Did they sabotage their own vote?

        And there you go wrongfully assuming I have multiple accounts. I said I tested this several times, I didn't say I have multiple accounts. I had plenty of volunteers willing to participate in this test.

  19. Zog The Undeniable

    Well, I logged in to vote

    I don't use Facebook but I have a basic profile just so people can see I'm not dead. Tried to vote against this but (as usual when it's busy) the site didn't display properly and came up in text-only format, there was no apparent link to the vote from the voting information page and I just gave up. I suspect a few million other people did the same.

    Imagine a General Election where the location of the polling booths was not made public.

  20. saabpilot


    I didn't even know about this. Been on face book at least dozen times over the the last month.

    HOW MANY OTHERS DIDNT KNOW ABOUT THIS - it might account for the low vote count.

    Stalkbook pulls another FAST one

    1. JDX Gold badge

      Re: OMG

      They are under no obligation to have the system for voting in the first place.

  21. Alex King

    Expectation of privacy

    If you post something on the internet, particularly a corporate-owned section of the internet, don't expect it to be private.

    It's a private club, not a public service, and certainly not a human right. There are zero grounds to expect democracy.

  22. Fihart

    Facebook -- drones and clones

    I posted a reminder to vote on my (cat's) Facebook page and not one of my (cat's) "Ffriends" responded. I must say I'm getting bored with the pages of sentimental drivel and pix of group-mugging for the camera they all post so their complacency on this issue may lead me to dump Fbook finally.

  23. Paul 164

    Facebook don't want user democracy they just want to know your life's intricate details to sell onto advertisers and the like.

    Getting 1/3 of the user base to vote to for/against changes is impossible - most users dismiss Facebook messages popping up with T&C changes, most others take a quick read then give up because they just want to post about what they had for dinner!

    Facebook's only interest is Facebook. And owning you.

  24. sisk

    I wouldn't even call the vote a token gesture. To begin with, they're counting every single account as a user despite the fact that a significant percentage of them have left Facebook for one reason or another. Or aren't even people. On top of that, how much of the user base even knew about the vote? I never got any kind of notification about it.

    Another Facebook complaint, completely unrelated: Facebook claimed to me that a good friend of mine liked Mitt Romney in the weeks leading up to the election. The problem with this is that this friend died in a motorcycle wreck in May 2011. It really makes me wonder what they're saying that I like.

  25. RISC OS

    Just don't use it, I don't. Why waste time at that shit site? If you can't meet with the people you know or ro scared of long distance calling costs to phone, they aren't your friend.

  26. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    did it really?

    did it actually fail, or are we just being told it failed? Is there transparency outside of the system and it's inherent conflict-of-interest?

    remember, kids: it's not the votes that count, it's who counts the votes-and who reports on the findings.

  27. Rob

    Fancy a laugh...

    ... check out the nigh on 90,000 FB users all posting the same brainless statement on this Governance page

    There's one good reason to stay away from the low intelligence sheep attractor that is Facebook.

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