“The future is private,” declared Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg on stage at Facebook F8 2019, the company’s annual developer conference. Only one problem – Facebook’s track record when it comes to privacy isn’t just spotty, it’s terrible, and as such the company has a seriously long way to go before it can win back the trust of the public and the privacy-conscious.
Facebook’s privacy push is a multi-tiered effort, and is unlikely to all manifest overnight. Not only that, but Facebook’s emphasis on privacy won’t just be on the main Facebook site either – it will also need to be in Facebook Messenger, Instagram, Oculus, and WhatsApp.
In other words, not only will Facebook need to make your browsing a little more private, it will need to make your messaging more private, too – and to further complicate the matter, the company is already trying to make its messaging services inter-operable.
At its F8 2019 keynote, Zuckerberg detailed six core pillars of what the new, privacy-focused Facebook will look like.
First up are private interactions. Gone are the days when Facebook wanted you to show off everything in and about your life in public — nowadays, a more mature
So what does that mean for you? Well, hopefully much of ensuring an interaction is private will occur behind the scenes, but if nothing else it means you can have some assurance that Facebook isn’t eavesdropping on your conversations.
It’s common to hear about “end-to-end encryption” when it comes to messaging, and one of Facebook’s products — WhatsApp — already offers it. But WhatsApp isn’t
Of course, encrypting your activity elsewhere across Facebook products will also be important. Information like what web pages you’re visiting, your location data from when you’re using
But what will encryption allow for? Well, it will essentially ensure that no one can see activity you want to keep private, except for you, and that should include Facebook. Right now, though,
Encryption is really the only way to ensure that users don’t need to worry about their messages and other data being spied on by Facebook or other third parties.
Snapchat pioneered ephemeral messaging, and then Facebook took that concept and ran with it. But it looks like the company could expand on the concept even further in the future. The idea here is that
For the end user, this could take a few forms. Not only could Facebook expand on the concept of content automatically disappearing after a certain amount of time, but it could also make it easier to remove content if and when a user wants to.
It would be hard to describe the internet as a truly “safe” place, especially for children and vulnerable people. Not only that, but it can be difficult to imagine what would make the internet safe. After all, adding encryption and reducing data permanence are much clearer, more concrete steps that Facebook can take — but simply “making
Still, there are a few obvious things Facebook could do. For starters, the company could aim to reduce online bullying, by doing things like adding tools for users to prevent people from targeting them online or being able to continue targeting them online. Part of making
There are obvious benefits to both the end user and to Facebook when it comes to ensuring the
Mark Zuckerberg made waves earlier in the year when he described a world in which you could message someone on Facebook Messenger, and they could get that message in Instagram — but this looks to be a world we’ll one day live in.
Facebook’s plan for interoperability has so far been a little vague, so we’ll have to wait and see exactly what it ends up looking like.
Secure data storage
Even encrypted data can be hacked, but the goal is to ensure that the data itself is physically as safe as possible — and for Facebook, that might mean being very careful where it stores everything. For example,
Of course, this could be a little more difficult than it sounds. After all, while some countries obviously have a clearly spotty track record with human rights, how do you judge many others? Not only that, but countries change policies and governments all the time — will that affect where Facebook opens or maintains data centers?
Facebook’s six core tenets for the future may all sound good, but there’s still a whole lot we don’t know about the future of the company. For starters,
Only time will tell if Facebook can truly reinvent itself, and even if it does, there’s no guarantee that it’ll make for a
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