You can’t please everybody all the time—especially when that “everybody” includes nearly a billion people. But Facebook’s not even trying any more: As much as Mark Zuckerberg claims to love transparency in messaging, decision-making and management, his company’s troubled flirtation with “democracy” appears to be on the wane.
Last week brought the announcement of what seems like the millionth round of changes to Facebook’s official privacy and “governance” policies. The changes concern “the integration of Instagram data” and revisions to “the filters for managing incoming messages”, and they’ll make it easier for Facebook to share its coveted data with partner organizations. While Facebook calls these changes “minor and beneficial to users”, many predictably disagreed and shared their opinions online. You’ve probably seen this status update at some point over the past week:
“I DO NOT AUTHORIZE the use of my personal data (text, photos, images, videos, comments or any content contained on my page now or in the past), under any pretext, for commercial or non-commercial purposes without my written and signed approval. Also, I REJECT AND DO NOT CONCEDE that Facebook stores messages, comments, images, videos or any other data I choose or chose to delete.”
The most interesting aspect of this story? Facebook has decided to abandon its attempts to imitate a “direct democracy” by allowing users to vote on proposed changes. As of this afternoon, you and the other 999 million people on the network will no longer have a direct say in this matter–or any other.