FACEBOOK CAN'T catch a break right now. Would be a polite way of saying "all of Facebook's chickens are coming home to roost" or "that Kalanick isn't such a bad CEO after all".
This time, we discover, via TechCrunch, that messages between Mark Zuckerberg and others, via Facebook's Messenger app, were made self-destructing and were removed without any warning to those who were on the receiving end.
It also means that some of his conversations are lost, which is a bit of a bugger if they turn out to be needed for evidence after all the other cock-ups which Zuck promised to "fix" this year before we knew what we know now.
Facebook says the policy came about as a result of the Sony Pictures' hack in 2014 and was designed to protect the communications of its top-dogs.
"These included limiting the retention period for Mark's messages in Messenger. We did so in full compliance with our legal obligations to preserve messages."
It's important to remind you that technically there's nothing wrong with this, legally, but morally it's a nightmare. The lack of communication with those affected could be seen as a breach of trust. The fact that there is clearly a two-tier system in operation for security could be seen as a breach of user rights (again, morally if not legally).
When you consider how little wiggle-room Facebook gives you - it's almost impossible to delete your account without lots of emotional blackmail and confusing rhetoric, and it's remarkably hard still to control what you see in your timeline - the fact that senior executives have a "right to be forgotten" that goes way beyond its users is a bit scary.
Facebook has confirmed that regular users cannot delete their messages from other people's inboxes/threads - they'll still appear in the recipient's history. Unless of course, you're Zuck or one of his team.
What's particularly shady here is that not all conversations have been ditched - it's specific ones, from specific people on specific subjects from specific times - but seemingly on a case by case basis.
Everything else remains intact. Hmm. Innocent or not, it doesn't look good, Zuck. µ
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