In Zuckerberg's Facebook post, he details Facebook's new privacy-focused platform will be built around the following principles:
- Secure data storage - "People should expect that we won't store sensitive data in countries with weak records on human rights like privacy and freedom of expression in order to protect data from being improperly accessed."
- Interoperability - "People should be able to use any of our apps to reach their friends, and they should be able to communicate across networks easily and securely."
- Safety - "People should expect that we will do everything we can to keep them safe on our services within the limits of what's possible in an encrypted service."
- Reducing Permanence - "People should be comfortable being themselves, and should not have to worry about what they share coming back to hurt them later. So we won't keep messages or stories around for longer than necessary to deliver the service or longer than people want them."
- Encryption - "People's private communications should be secure. End-to-end encryption prevents anyone -- including us -- from seeing what people share on our services. "
- Private Interactions - "People should have simple, intimate places where they have clear control over who can communicate with them and confidence that no one else can access what they share."
This announcement comes at a time when Facebook is under increased scrutiny over the spread of "fake news," which has resulted in public pressure on the social network company to better moderate its customer content. The new privacy focused social network envisioned above may be designed to address some of these concerns as content will become private from even Facebook itself, reducing its vulnerability to privacy issues.
A couple of the more concrete changes and policies outlined by Zuckerberg are listed below:
- Facebook will offer an opt-in option to its users that will enable them to send and receive messages across all its apps: Instagram, WhatsApp, and Facebook.
- Facebook will expand end-to-end encryption to all of its messaging apps while using non-content details and meta-data to identify criminals on its services. The retention of this meta-data will be limited to safety and spam considerations, after which it will be deleted.
- Facebook will let users control how long messages and chats are visible and message threads will have auto-delete on by default bringing ephemeral characteristics to the communication on its platform.
Facebook's Instagram, Messenger and WhatsApp are all used by more than 1 billion people each. This shift to a more privacy focused social network will make it harder for Facebook to continue generating the level of revenue from targeted advertising that has allowed it to become one of the largest companies in the world. As it undergoes the changes identified above, there is no doubt that the company will have to develop new revenue generating tools, services and strategies.
It is important to note that Mark Zuckerberg did admit that elements of the plan could still change as the company speaks to experts over the next year.
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