Facebook moved last week to eliminate the ability of users to vote on data use and privacy policy changes, according to posts in several languages on its site governance page on November 21. Both the timing (immediately before the Thanksgiving holiday in America) and the content changes have raised eyebrows with the entities who have worked to keep #Facebook in check, but the company may have a point in eliminating its voting mechanisms. Does this simply give users the democracy they deserve—that is, none at all?

As Facebook decides to take away the vote, the real question is whether the service is more like a sovereign nation or a service. Practically speaking, in terms of what Facebook is to Facebook, it’s the latter: Facebook buys our data for the price of feeding our collective interest in each other (and, increasingly, brands and pages) and sells it to advertisers.

But Facebook is something else to users. Is using Facebook comparable to living in America? Is its use that integral and essential? Or is it more like a retail store in a free economy, where if we don’t like how it does business, we’re free to walk?

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