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Inside Scoop: Facebook policy changes being put to a voteThe social network is looking to loosen its privacy and advertising policies and has asked users to vote on the proposed changes. But despite seeking users' opinions, Facebook is likely to do exactly as it chooses. Why? Sumi Das asks CNET News Executive...
-Hello and welcome to the inside scoop, I'm Sumi Das. Joining me is executive for CNET, Paul Sloan. Paul thanks for being with us. -Sure. -So, let's talk about Facebook and privacy. Two terms that when they mention in the same sense, people pay attention or get their knickers in a twist. There was an e-mail that supposedly Facebook sent out recently asking users to vote about something, not just privacy, but other stuff as well. Can you tell us about that? -Yesterday, voting began on holds series of proposed changes that Facebook wants to make to how it handles your data, -Okay. -to some of your obscure settings that most people will never even understand or try to understand and to whether they even continue to have this voting process in the place and to continue having in the first place. -So, they've got this voting process and in order for things to be voted up, they need to reach a sort of a critical number of votes. They need to get 30%. Is that right? -Right, 30%. So, when this all started in 2009, it came from some backlash about some privacy issue. Facebook sort of became this nation, right? They said, "We're gonna have this democracy and we're gonna-- If we make changes to how governor say, we're gonna put it to the people. -Uh-huh. -And so, we'll put out a post and say here's what we've wanna. You need 7,000 comments on it or so roughly, and then that will trigger a vote that has to then clear-- have 7 days to vote which the period we are now, and then you have 30% of the full Facebook population, which is now doing and plus users have to vote on it. That means 300 million people vote on, have to vote on this in order for it not to happen, and that means it will definitely happen because that's not gonna happen. 300 million people will not turn to vote. -It's highly unlikely that 300 million people will vote on this, right? -Yeah. It's pretty much not gonna happen. -Okay, it's a foregone conclusion -Yes. -Then the Facebook is probably going to end up doing whatever they want. -Right. -Okay. -So, what are we talking about here. By the way, if you are interested in voting, you should vote by December 10-- -Ten -Is that correct? -Yes. -Okay. So, if you're just to vote to get the word out lobby. If would ever knew a campaign-- -If, you know, look at up on Google, it's all over the place. -Okay. -So, what does that mean then? After December 10 when this is like we voted down and Facebook starts doing whatever they want, are we gonna see some major changes in the way privacy is handled in our data. -You know, the privacy concern on this one that has led to some letters from various privacy advocates is that they're doing what they wanna do, start incorporating and looking at your data from other business in its own to pull them altogether. The called this unified data. -Uh-huh. -The biggest one being Instagram, which they now own. So, right now, they keep Instagram data separate from data on your other activity on Facebook. They wanna put that altogether, bundle it up in a nice package, and sell it to advertisers, not sell it to advertisers, but use it as a target adds and use it to, you know, make it richer and more valuable. The concern is that that just sort of a too much an invasion of privacy, and that there is risk if you get hacked on one thing that someone will know that information about you. -So, the average user, is this is gonna be a noticeable change for them? -No. -Okay. The average users is not gonna know anything that's going on. They're not gonna see any difference. I mean this is all really about Facebook's ability to do more with data so that it can be smarter advertising platform. -Yeah, and that's what it's all about in the end. -Right. -For Facebook, this is-- -And you know, if you don't like, don't use Facebook. -Yeah. I think that's what it comes to. -I mean it doesn't cost to use it. You've agreed to use it. If you agree to use and share things, you know or you should know, that's what they do, the share-- they use your data to target you with ads in their view hopefully ads that meaningful to you. If you're a music fan, they wanna show you ads of concerts nearby that you might wanna see. I mean, you know, it is not all hateful stuff. This is how the media works. -I get a lot of ads for shows. I don't know what says about me. -Paul Sloan, executive editor for CNET, thank you very much for helping us trying to make sense of this. -You're welcome. -For Inside Scoop, I'm Sumi Das, thanks for watching.