Facebook plans to make its platform more privacy-focused, built around several principles core to the way WhatsApp has been developed, according to CEO Mark Zuckerberg.
During the F8 conference in San Jose earlier this week the CEO opened the event saying the company will focus on the most fundamental and private use case, messaging, making it as secure as possible with end-to-end encryption, and then build more ways for people to interact on top of that.
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Zuckerberg explained that over the next few years these services will be rebuilt around private interactions, encryption, reducing permanence, safety, interoperability and secure data storage. The company will be also committing to working and consulting with experts and governments throughout the building process.
In terms of privacy, Zuckerberg said users should have “simple, intimate spaces” where they have complete confidence to know everything they say will be private.
For encryption he said, “Your private communications should be secure, and end-to-end encryption prevents anyone – including even us – from seeing what you share.”
When reducing permanence Zuckerberg explained users should not have to worry about what you share is going back to hurt you later.
“So we won’t keep around messages or Stories for longer than necessary,” he said.
To increase safety, the social media boss said the company is taking the time to get this right upfront before shipping the platform.
Interoperability means for users they “should be able to use any of our apps to reach your friends, and you should be able to communicate across our networks easily and securely,” he said.
Finally, secure data storage Zuckerberg said, “You should expect that we won’t store sensitive data in countries where it might be improperly accessed because of weak rule of law or governments that can forcibly get access to your data.”
He said he is unsure how these new privacy changes will affect the business as the impact will be more long term.
“On some of the questions like whether encrypting content will hurt our business, I’m more confident that won’t be a significant issue.
“We don’t use the content of messages between people to target ads today, so encrypting that content won’t change what we do. It will strengthen people’s privacy without meaningfully affecting our business.”
He said similarly, reducing the permanence of data may have some impact but they have found more recent data is more useful for recommendations.
“So this is another step that should have a much bigger impact on strengthening people’s privacy than it will have on our business.”
Ever since the Cambridge Analytica scandal last year the social media giant has been under intense scrutiny by not only its users but the media and the government on the way it handles it’s users data. The company recently told its investors it has put US$3 billion aside to settle a fine from the FTC over the Cambridge Analytica scandal.