What’s going on here?
Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Facebook has recently outlined his vision for Facebook to transition into a “privacy-focused platform”.
What does this mean?
Zuckerberg has identified a number of key changes that will be made. The company are thinking of introducing end-to-end encrypted messaging. This would mean that messages could only be read by the parties to the conversation as if you were “connecting privately in the digital equivalent of the living room”. As well as this, Zuckerberg has committed to reducing the amount of data that Facebook retains while avoiding “storing sensitive data in countries with weak records on human rights”.
What’s the big picture effect?
Facebook recently revealed plans to combine WhatsApp, Instagram and Messenger (read our report on this here). This would potentially enable the company to share data across all three networks. However, this has raised concerns about the effect that such a merger will have as the apps have historically been viewed as completely separate. Therefore, privacy in the company is now more important than ever in order to keep users’ trust.
For Facebook, this offers an opportunity to rebuild its reputation. Zuckerberg recently said: “frankly we don’t currently have a strong reputation for building privacy protective services”. This is likely in reference to events such as the Cambridge Analytica scandal (which you can read about here).
As a result of such scandals there has been a strong push for greater social network regulation and Facebook is one of the platforms that has felt this pressure the most. However, if less data is retained indefinitely, as intended, then Zuckerberg might survive the culling. Unfortunately, the detrimental effect of being able to share content with the world with ease has been revealed. This can be seen following the tragic events in New Zealand in which the shooter live streamed his attack. Consequently, social media sites will be under pressure to prevent the posting and sharing of content of this kind. The sharing of content is a large part of facebook's culture, one which Zuckerberg is now seeking to change. The move away from public posts and the encouragement of private conversation appear to be a move in the right direction in more ways than one.
Report written by Natasha D.
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