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The Illusion of 'Facebook Suffrage'
By: Christine Geraci
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So remember that time Facebook tried to get its users to vote on something? No? Me either.
 
But apparently it happened. Three times. See, any time people start freaking out about a policy change via comments, a voting mechanism is triggered once the griping reaches a certain critical mass. Through that voting mechanism, users can reject the policy change via an up-or-down vote. 
 
But Facebook is now going to scrap this effort due to "voter apathy."
 
The Forbes article linked above includes this quote from Buzzfeed's Michael Phillips: "By repealing Facebook Suffrage, Facebook abandons a fundamental norm — that its users are citizens in a community, and not simply datapoints on an advertising algorithm." 
 
No disrespect, but I have to take issue with this. 
 
First of all, Facebook itself is not a community. It is a platform that enables the fostering of hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of communities. People make communities, not for-profit corporations that make money on the data its users willingly serve to them. 
 
Second of all, this voting mechanism was an insult at best. Supposedly an email went out to all users about it. I never received an email. What's more, Facebook could have utilized its own ad mechanism to insert itself in every last News Feed on the planet about it. If they did, they missed one person, because I never saw it. And if the voter turnout and ended up being more impressive, who cares when Facebook only takes the results under advisement? 
 
And finally, Facebook users ARE datapoints on an advertising algorithm. Anyone who thinks otherwise is kidding themselves.
 
Facebook users aren't looking for validation from Facebook, they're looking for validation from their friends. So maybe Facebook should try being a friend. Maybe it should try employing a human or two that monitors the customer forums and then actually responds every once in a while. Maybe it should allow people to openly comment on policy changes instead of trying to stuff the multi-angled pegs that are people's opinions into the round holes of "yes" and "no." 
 
As for "Facebook Suffrage," I couldn't care less that it's going away. It was a slap in the face. I can only hope it's replaced with a real, honest effort. I can only hope. 


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About the Author
Christine Geraci is the Social Media/Promotions Specialist at MVP Health Care in Schenectady, NY. Connect with her on Twitter @christinegeraci.
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