Unless Facebook users fight back, the days of the social network's experiment with democracy may soon come to an end.
The company on Wednesday proposed to take away its users' right to vote on major issues concerning the governance of its 1 billion-member online network.
The reaction online has been less than welcoming.
"Facebook now argues that it is too big for democracy, much like the Chinese government might," writes Michael Phillips on the site BuzzFeed. "Call this new regime Facebook with Authoritarian Characteristics."
Since 2009, in what Facebook calls an experiment with digital voting rights, Facebook has allowed users to vote on major changes to the way it manages user data and privacy, if the online community expressed enough interest. If 7,000 people commented on a particular proposal, that triggered a vote. And if 30% of the site's active users -- which would be 300 million people at this point -- voted against the change, Facebook would abandon it.
Now the company says it wants to ditch that system, replacing it with new ways for users to submit questions to Facebook's privacy team. The company lists two primary reasons for the shift away from digital democracy: Facebook has become extremely large, with more than a billion users; and it's a publicly traded company now, which mea