- On Wednesday, FacebookCEO Mark Zuckerberg said that he wants the social network to refocus itself on secure, private conversations.
- The announcement is a major change in direction for a company that’s prided itsself on making the world “more open and connected.”
- And given Facebook’s history of privacy blunders, and the scale of this proposed change, people online had plenty to say – most of it sceptical.
On Tuesday, Mark Zuckerberg published a long Facebook post explaining his intentions to make the social network more “privacy-focused.”
To do so, Zuckerberg said Facebook would begin by making messages encrypted by default, and automatically deleting them after a period of time. No definite timeline was provided, as the chief exec said these changes would come “over the next few years.”
The announcement is a major change in direction for a company that’s mission statement as recently as 2017 was to “make the world more open and connected.” And given Facebook’s history of security and privacy blunders – including, but not limited to, the Cambridge Analytica scandal – many people expressed their scepticism.
Here are some of the top reactions to Facebook’s proposed new focus on privacy:
There was some praise for Zuckerberg’s statement on Tuesday.
This single line right here is the most evidence of growth I've seen from Zuck in like five years. Up until now, he has absolutely resisted expressing any values besides "connecting people is good." https://t.co/THhcnNoFFRhttps://t.co/Nx3mGWaZBL pic.twitter.com/Ar4fhemoIT
— nilay patel (@reckless) March 6, 2019
But given the company’s history of security issues, Zuckerberg’s comments were met with plenty of scepticism.
1) This isn't a post I expected to read, and I wish he wrote it two years ago. Hopefully the external vision is reflected in internal moves to change product culture that informs thousands of product and engineering decisions per year. Turning a ship that large is difficult.
— Alex Stamos (@alexstamos) March 6, 2019
Zuckerberg’s announcement is long overdue and probably a lie.
— Adam Parkhomenko (@AdamParkhomenko) March 6, 2019
So now that Zuckerberg thinks privacy is important ….
Where’s that “clear history” tool it promised us a year ago?
— Geoffrey A. Fowler (@geoffreyfowler) March 6, 2019
Some pointed to the difficulties that encryption introduces.
Here's the other thing about "privacy & encryption" not mentioned here. Massive amounts of disinformation. In elections in Brazil, India, Nigeria…WhatsApp has been the new frontier of fake news. Impossible to see. Impossible to fight
— Carole Cadwalladr (@carolecadwalla) March 6, 2019
Others wondered how a more private social network would be feasible from a business perspective, given Facebook’s revenues depend almost entirely on ads displayed in the News Feed.
Related: Zuck offers no explanation for how Facebook will monetize this supposedly privacy-focused vision. Only mention of ads is the passive "thought needs to go into" it. pic.twitter.com/hPMudcyMhk
— Jared Newman (@OneJaredNewman) March 6, 2019
He just killed the newsfeed.
— Benedict Evans (@benedictevans) March 6, 2019
That said, two key takeaways give some pause. One is stated. One is not.
1) As stated numerous times, this is going to take *years*.
2) Not stated at all: how on Earth Facebook continues to operate their business with these changes.
— M.G. Siegler (@mgsiegler) March 7, 2019
Many were left to question the timing of it all.
I just … the idea that this is like a realization?? This is … breathtaking.
— Molly Wood (@mollywood) March 6, 2019
While this move was announced previously, the timing/rollout is entirely an attempt to 'scramble the egg' & combine @Facebook's multiple services ahead of regulators stepping in on #competition grounds
— ashkan soltani (@ashk4n) March 6, 2019
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