Facebook: What's in Mark Zuckerberg's privacy plan?

Facebook: What's in Mark Zuckerberg's privacy plan?

Mark Zuckerberg is on a mission to rehabilitate Facebook's image.

"There is a growing awareness that the more entities that have access to your data, the more vulnerabilities there are for someone to misuse it or for a cyber attack to expose it", Zuckerberg wrote in the post, titled "A Privacy-Focused Vision for Social Networking".

"People are more cautious of having a permanent record of what they've shared", the 34-year-old executive said, adding there is "an opportunity to build a simpler platform that's focused on privacy first". Zuckerberg didn't give a concrete timeline, saying only that "over the next few years, we plan to rebuild more of our services around these ideas". This is something that has been sorely lacking from the platform as now constituted.

Zuckerberg may talk about the safety benefits of strong encryption, but those benefits only extend to the contents of people's messages, not the associated metadata that tells Facebook who is talking to whom, and when. This means that members will have a say in whom they communicate with, and any conversations will be known only to those who are members of a particular group.

"So we won't keep messages or stories around for longer than necessary to deliver the service or longer than people want it", Zuckerberg said. And lastly, members should be able to use the new platforms without fear that their messages will be stored by Facebook in countries with poor privacy and human rights laws. Integration could make it much more hard, if not impossible, to later separate out and spin off Instagram and WhatsApp as separate companies. We know how valuable such information is, because documents released by the United Kingdom parliament show how Facebook used its Onavo virtual private network (VPN) app to gather usage data on competitors. "We do not believe storing people's data in some countries is a secure enough foundation to build such important internet infrastructure on....but storing data in more countries also establishes a precedent that emboldens other governments to seek greater access to their citizen's data and therefore weakens privacy and security protections for people around the world".

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Facebook's interest in private messaging has been clear for a long time, back in 2014 the company paid $19 billion for WhatsApp. Greenfield says that this space is now controlled by Apple's iMessage and Snapchat. That could help Facebook compete with messaging services from Apple, Google and others.

Though the content of messages between individuals would be concealed from Facebook, correspondence between users and businesses and between users and Facebook would still be recorded through the platform, Soltani said. Considering that Facebook is big on privacy all of a sudden, it'll be interesting to see whether anything changes in the near future. While most of the stock market slipped in Wednesday trading, Facebook's shares gained $1.25 to close at $172.51. Public social networks will continue to be very important in people's lives. Zuckerberg further wrote, "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".

Will it really change, when it makes so much money from us over-sharing?

Facebook exists primarily to sell advertisements - and its entire business model rests on mining our data to do just that.

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