Facebook will take another stab at really protecting user privacy (and hopefully hit the mark) by announcing a “privacy-focused” revamp of its operations.
This brave, new direction was announced by CEO Mark Zuckerberg, whose critics contend he doesn’t care about protecting privacy at all, or is just paying lip-service to it.
In a 3,000-word note posted on Facebook, Zuckerberg also outlined plans to rework more of Facebook’s services around this “privacy-focused” approach over the next few years. He said Facebook will introduce “simple, intimate” places where no one else can see a user’s data.
To further protect privacy, Facebook will use end-to-end encryption, reduce the amount of permanent content, promote greater safety and provide secure data storage. Zuckerberg also promised more interoperability between apps and networks.
Zuckerberg sees his company’s WhatsApp messaging service as the template for these privacy focused changes. He said that because WhatsApp is a secure messaging platform, it ultimately represents the “future of communication,” where a user can be sure that whatever he says is both protected and impermanent.
This secureity will prove vital as Facebook is developing a new integrated messaging service that will allow users on Messenger, Instagram and WhatsApp to communicate in private with each other.
In his lengthy note, Zuckerberg also said communications platforms that protect privacy will “become even more important than today’s open platforms.”
“I believe the future of communication will increasingly shift to private, encrypted services where people can be confident what they say to each other stays secure and their messages and content won’t stick around forever,” wrote Zuckerberg.
“This is the future I hope we will help bring about.”
The note reveals Facebook’s plans to integrate the messaging functions of its three apps. Zuckerberg said Facebook will consult with outside experts as this integrated platform is built-out.
“Today if you want to message people on Facebook you have to use Messenger, on Instagram you have to use Direct, and on WhatsApp you have to use WhatsApp,” he wrote.
“We want to give people a choice so they can reach their friends across these networks from whichever app they prefer.”
Zuckerberg said the new service will prioritize user safety and encrypt private communications.
“I understand that many people don’t think Facebook can or would even want to build this kind of privacy-focused platform — because frankly we don’t currently have a strong reputation for building privacy protective services, and we’ve historically focused on tools for more open sharing,” wrote Zuckerberg.
“But we’ve repeatedly shown that we can evolve to build the services that people really want, including in private messaging and stories.”