New changes are coming to Facebook, changes focusing on privacy in the next couple of years.
Facebook head Mark Zuckerberg has said he believes secure, private messaging services will become more popular than open platforms. According to a report by the BBC, Mr. Zuckerberg outlined his vision to transform Facebook into a “privacy-focused platform.”
Facebook owns Messenger and WhatsApp, but message encryption limits its ability to make money through targeted adverts. In 2018, it emerged that the data of about 50 million users had been harvested and passed on to a political consultancy. “Facebook and Instagram have helped people connect with friends, communities, and interests in the digital equivalent of a town square,” said the billionaire founder of Facebook but people increasingly also want to connect privately in the digital equivalent of the living room.”
In response, Mr. Zuckerberg said he wanted to develop the social media network into one focused around privacy, reducing permanence and secure data storage.
As part of his privacy goals, he said Facebook would not “store sensitive data in countries with weak records on human rights like privacy and freedom of expression. Upholding this principle may mean that our services will get blocked in some countries, or that we won’t be able to enter others anytime soon. That’s a tradeoff we’re willing to make,” he continued.
Mr. Zuckerberg added that encrypted messaging will also create scope for new business tools, especially ones around online payments and commerce. He did not offer a firm timeline for his vision, but said changes would take place “over the next few years”.
Facebook has been sharply criticized in the past over lack of user privacy and the spread of offensive content and “fake news”.Close to $80bn (£61bn) was wiped off Facebook’s share value in just days last March over the Cambridge Analytica scandal. The UK-based consultancy was accused of misusing the data of millions of US Facebook members, The BBC further reported.