- Facebook published its financials for the first three months of the year on Wednesday.
- During an earnings call with analysts, Mark Zuckerberg responded to a question about his plans to carve up Facebook in two – a public “townhall” and a more private, encrypted service.
- Zuckerberg said it would take the company five years or longer to split its business.
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Mark Zuckerberg gave a few more details on his plan to split Facebook in two during the company’s earning call on Wednesday.
Zuckerberg first laid out his radical plan to split Facebook’s product in a 3,200-word blogpost published last month. He wants to create two distinct spaces: a public forum or “town square,” and a private encrypted space or “living room.”
It isn’t totally clear what this means in practice, but likely would involve knitting Facebook’s various messaging platforms on Instagram, WhatsApp, and Facebook Messenger together to form an interoperable, encrypted service.
An analyst asked Zuckerberg about the timeline on bifurcating Facebook’s services during Wednesday’s earnings call.
“I think that this is going to be a central focus for the company for the next five years or longer,” Zuckerberg answered. He said that the company will spend at least one year consulting with experts, government, and law enforcement before launching the closed-off private service.
“There are really important safety and content issues in messaging and if we don’t have the ability to see the content, we need to make sure we have different tools in place to handle that,” he said. He added that this approach reflects a change in Facebook’s approach to building products.
“A few years ago, we probably would have rolled this out and tried to deal with issues as they came up with but now part of our new approach of trying to be more proactive about social issues is trying to build in from the ground up, getting this right upfront.”
Later in the call chief financial officer Dave Wehner also said that monetizing the private messaging component of Facebook’s future plans is a “lower, near-term priority” for the company.
Zuckerberg also teased that he would be revealing more details about the plan at F8, Facebook’s annual developer conference.
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