Referencing from Zuckerberg’s Facebook post, “Public social networks will continue to be very important in people’s lives — for connecting with everyone you know, discovering new people, ideas and content, and giving people a voice more broadly. People find these valuable every day, and there are still a lot of useful services to build on top of them. But now, with all the ways people also want to interact privately, there’s also an opportunity to build a simpler platform that’s focused on privacy first.”
On Wednesday, Facebook’s CEO, Mark Zuckerberg put forth a reoriented model of privacy for the social media platform which has continued to encourage generation after generation to share what’s up with their life via pictures and status updates.
In an essay Mark posted on his account, he announced his future plans regarding Facebook which are focused on safety, interoperability, private interactions, encryption, secure data storage and reducing permanence.
After consistently being in news for security issues, the company has finally decided to appropriately position itself for an unknown time which is yet to come. Seemingly, the plan of action has been fuelled by the descending trust of the users and ongoing arguments with regulators across the globe.
Explaining the new model, Zuckerberg told that Facebook would be subjected to a change which would remodel the platform after a living room, where people will have complete control over who can communicate with them and a trust that no one else can access what they share, which is in contrast to the initial model which was based into broadcasting information to large sections.
“In a few years, I expect future versions of Messenger and WhatsApp to become the main ways people communicate on the Facebook network. We’re focused on making both of these apps faster, simpler, more private and more secure, including with end-to-end encryption. We then plan to add more ways to interact privately with your friends, groups, and businesses. If this evolution is successful, interacting with your friends and family across the Facebook network will become a fundamentally more private experience.”
The subtle and skeptical reactions to Mark’s announcement included privacy advocates questioning about the data that is collected for Facebook’s benefits, they asked if the practice will be minimized. Meanwhile, they asserted on the CEO’s need to talk beyond encryption and prioritize answering the questions on data collection for business purposes.
Referenced from the statements given by Jess Chester, executive director of a nonprofit privacy advocacy group in Washington, “Why does it always sound like we are witnessing a digital version of Groundhog Day when Facebook yet again promises — when it’s in a crisis — that it will do better,”
“Will it actually bring a change to how Facebook continually gathers data on its users in order to drive big profits?” He added.
Commenting on the matter, Jennifer Grygiel, assistant professor of communications at Syracuse University, questioned, “What’s not clear is how they are going to make this transition safely. We have already seen the risks associated with WhatsApp and private encryption in India, for example, where misinformation has led to mobs and the loss of life,”
Studies suggest that consumer trust in Facebook took critical hits due to continuous exploitation of users’ data. In terms of reputation among 100 highly visible public companies, Facebook fell from being 51st to 94th last year. Moreover, certain Facebook user polls implied people entirely getting rid of the app by uninstalling it.
While acknowledging the reduced trust quotient in his post, Zuckerberg wrote, “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,” he said. “But we’ve repeatedly shown that we can evolve to build the services that people really want, including in private messaging and stories.”
To Zuckerberg’s proposal of a future which would look different, Twitter bore witness to another skeptical remark as Ashkan Soltani, a former Federal Trade Commission official and privacy researcher, said “This move is entirely a strategic play to use privacy as a competitive advantage and further lock in Facebook as the dominant messaging platform.”