Facebook to refocus messaging around encryption and privacy

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Zuck Wants to Turn Facebook Into a 'Privacy-Focused' Platform
Author

10 March, 2019

Secure data storage: one of the most important point here is Zuckerberg vowed not to save user data in countries which "have a track record of violating human rights like privacy or freedom of expression". Similar to WhatsApp, though, groups can create problems - including people using them to create racist, xenophobic bubbles on Facebook.

Part of the new platform will be a new messaging service built with privacy in mind, with features such as end-to-end encryption and "ephemerality", so chats disappear by default after a month or year as users decide.

"So we won't keep messages or stories around for longer than necessary to deliver the service or longer than people want them". But it may benefit Facebook most by helping address two of the top issues weighing on the company: Users and governments are concerned about keeping personal information private on the social network, and Facebook has struggled to stop the spread of content that is false, violent or concerning in some way.

Though the content of messages between individuals would be concealed from Facebook, correspondence between users and businesses and between users and Facebook would still be recorded through the platform, Soltani said.

Facebook makes most of its money by letting advertisers target their messages at very specific audiences.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has made what can be called yet another "promise" to the world on making messaging more secure than before. He said the social platform would spend the coming years assuring that its WhatsApp, Instagram, Messenger, and Facebook content is encrypted so that outsiders, and even Facebook, can not read it. "It still has a long way to go to undo the level of user and regulatory mistrust it has built up with its sins against privacy in the past year, and worse, the attempts of its leadership, from Zuckerberg on down, to cover them up". And since so many apps still send this kind of data to Facebook, this could give the company an extraordinary insight into a large share of the app ecosystem. This means messaging platforms on Instagram and the standalone app - Messenger is likely to get the same treatment in future. And Facebook's inability to moderate encrypted chats on WhatsApp has led to organised disinformation campaigns ahead of Brazil's presidential election and is said to have helped spread hoaxes that led to lynchings in India. "With the ability to message across our services, however, you'd be able to send an encrypted message to someone's phone number in WhatsApp from Messenger", he added.

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While Zuckerberg is, once again, talking the talk, he will have an uphill battle to convince social networking users of Facebook's pivot to privacy.

As Zuckerberg suggested in his lengthy post: "There's an important difference between providing a service in a country and storing people's data there".

The Facebook founder laid out his plan for the next steps how Facebook will evolve with a focus on privacy and data security, and promised more open and transparency in the transition.

He did not offer a firm timeline for his vision, but said changes would take place "over the next few years".

Facebook's now-explicit transition from public square into private portal shouldn't be too big a shock; it's a shift that's been increasingly telegraphed by the platform's constant addition of functional gewgaws like payments, games, and commerce options from food delivery to hailing rideshares.


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