CEO Mark Zuckerberg Outlines New ‘Privacy-Focused’ Approach for Facebook

Mark Zuckerberg has outlined a new “privacy-focused” direction for Facebook that will give preference to “encrypted, ephemeral” messages.

Facebook’s future is private messaging, writes CEO Mark Zuckerberg in a new blog post; the company is “shifting its focus away from public posts to encrypted, ephemeral communications on its trio of messaging apps,” which also include Instagram and WhatsApp.

Since its inception, Facebook has concentrated on getting as many users as possible to share as much as they can on the platform, but Zuckerberg now says he wants to change what he called “the digital equivalent of a town square” to the “the digital equivalent of the living room.”

“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.”

Zuckerberg said his vision for a privacy-focused platform would be built around seven principles: Private interactions, encryption, reduced permanence of messages and stories, safety, interoperability, and secure data storage.

The Facebook executive also noted that people prefer the “intimacy” of communicating one on one or with a tight-knit group of friends and that people are “more cautious of having a permanent record of what they’ve shared.” While public networks will continue to be important, he added, the company aims to “build a simpler platform that’s focused on privacy first.”

Facebook’s new direction is set to redefine how people use social media and how they will connect with one another. That has societal, political and national security implications given the grip that the company’s services have on more than 2.7 billion users around the world. In some countries, Facebook and its other apps are often confused as being the internet.

“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,” Zuckerberg concluded.

Read Mark Zuckerberg’s full blog post over on Facebook.

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