THE IRONY KLAXON has just gone off after Mark Zuckerberg said he wants to make Facebook a "privacy-focused platform".
Zuck spouted about this idea in a post on, er, Facebook, with the boss man spouting an idealised world of private chats on Facebook... the renowned open social network platform.
"I believe the future of communication will increasingly shift to private, encrypted services where people can be confident what they say to each other stays secure and their messages and content won't stick around forever. This is the future I hope we will help bring about," wrote Zuckerberg.
"We plan to build this the way we've developed WhatsApp: focus on the most fundamental and private use case - messaging - make it as secure as possible, and then build more ways for people to interact on top of that, including calls, video chats, groups, stories, businesses, payments, commerce, and ultimately a platform for many other kinds of private services."
That's not to say Facebook will suddenly lock itself down, but Zuck suggests a good dose of privacy paint could be slapped on Facebook's services.
He plans to introduce things like private interactions where people can be confident that what they say won't be exposed to others, and will make heavier use of encryption and ensure what people have posted of Facebook won't then come back and bite them in the rear.
"We won't keep messages or stories around for longer than necessary to deliver the service or longer than people want them," said Zuck.
One particularly interesting point was the idea of secure data storage and the way Zuckerberg sees it: "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."
That sounds all well and good, but for Facebook to operate in some nations it needs to adhere to their data laws. Those laws can mean providing the government access to user data if requested or storing data belonging to say Germans in Germany-based data centres. With this in mind, we doubt Facebook will be officially building its presence in China anytime soon.
"I believe we should be working towards a world where people can speak privately and live freely knowing that their information will only be seen by who they want to see it and won't all stick around forever. If we can help move the world in this direction, I will be proud of the difference we've made," Zuck concluded.
It all sounds well and good, if somewhat idealised. But after the shocking year Facebook had in 2018, with the Cambridge Analytica scandal and exposing the private posts of millions of users, we reckon Zuck has his work cut out.
But hell, we can't blame the guy for trying, though we can laugh at him. µ
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