Facebook's future is private messaging: Zuckerberg

March 07, 2019 09:14
Privacy-focused communication platforms will become more important in future, compared to open platforms, says Mark Zuckerberg. Photo: Reuters

Facebook will encrypt conversations on more of its messaging services and make them compatible, CEO Mark Zuckerberg said on Wednesday, making it clear that he believes private messaging will be very important for the social media giant's future.

In a Facebook post, Zuckerberg wrote that direct messaging will within a few years dwarf discussion on the traditional, open platform of Facebook, Reuters reports.

“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,” he wrote. “This is the future I hope we will help bring about.”

“Working towards implementing end-to-end encryption for all private communications is the right thing to do,” Zuckerberg said.

The strategy could frustrate law enforcement surveillance efforts as well as lawmakers who have called on Facebook to better moderate user content. It also would limit the company’s ability to generate revenue through targeted ads, Reuters noted.

But Zuckerberg said he could live with those tradeoffs because users want better control of their data while still having easy access to their contacts.

As part of Zuckerberg’s strategy, a Facebook user will be able to communicate with WhatsApp users while only having a Messenger account and vice versa. Users will also have more options for how long chats are saved.

Zuckerberg acknowledged that the public may be skeptical about Facebook’s privacy push given the company does not have a “strong reputation for building privacy protective services.”

Lawmakers, users and investors have expressed concerns over the last two years that Facebook is not doing enough to safeguard user data after a series of breaches and privacy bugs.

But Zuckerberg wrote that “we’ve repeatedly shown that we can evolve to build the services that people really want.”

Facebook is one of the biggest global players in private messaging with its WhatsApp, Messenger and Instagram, each used by more than one billion people.

As of now, only WhatsApp fully secures message content from all outsiders, including Facebook itself.

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