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Zuckerberg wants Facebook to become privacy focused

by on08 March 2019

Although how it can afford it is anyone’s guess

Mark Zuckerberg now says he wants Facebook to become a "privacy-focused" social network which is a move away from its previous method of encouraging sharing and flogging all data.

In a 3,200 word blog, Facebook's chief executive, Mark Zuckerberg, said "privacy-focused communications" would become more important than open social networks in the future. In some countries, this is already the case.

Zuckerberg said Facebook was looking at adding end-to-end encryption to all its messaging services so chats could not be seen by "hackers, criminals, over-reaching governments" or Facebook itself.

He wants also considering the "reducing the permanence" of content posted on Facebook, including disappearing photos, status updates and even private messages.

Merging elements of Facebook Messenger, Instagram and WhatsApp so that messages could be sent and received between all three apps.

He stressed that the option to post publicly would remain, as it let people discover "new people, ideas and content" and gave people a voice.

However the company would not build data centres in countries with a "track record of violating human rights".

Zuckerberg has to do something. People, particularly younger people are leaving Facebook over its privacy bugs. A move to make Facebook more privacy-focused may help restore some public trust in the platform.

Adding end-to-end encryption to all private messages would mean Facebook could not be compelled by governments to hand over its users' personal messages, because it does not have a copy.

Zuckerberg said an "inherent trade-off" of encrypted messaging was that criminals could hide activity such as terrorism or child abuse.

He said that Facebook was improving its ability to "stop bad actors across our apps by detecting patterns of activity".

The question would be how Facebook would make money. After all most of its cash comes from letting advertisers target their messages at specific audiences. People share so much on Facebook that the company can build a detailed picture of their age, location, political views, likes, and interests.

Investing in privacy may stop people removing their accounts or old posts which leaves Facebook with less information to profile people.

People might post more content if they know some of the stories will disappear.

The company is also exploring ways that it can charge businesses to contact people on its messaging apps.

Don’t hold your breath though. In May 2018, Facebook promised to launch a "clear history" feature that would let people delete personal data Facebook had scooped up. The feature has still not launched.

Last modified on 08 March 2019
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