Facebook is headed to become a platform “focused on privacy” and focused on confidentiality, its president Mark Zuckerberg announced Wednesday by delineating a strategic vision to transform the social network giant.
The strategic change, already outlined for a few months, seeks to solve two major Facebook problems: on the one hand, the incessant criticisms about permissive management of confidential user data, and on the other, a change in the behavior of Internet users, who prefer more intimate communication formats than the traditional “news thread” of the social network.
For Zuckerberg, Facebook must become a unified network, and one focused on private exchanges – as opposed to the publication of “posts” visible to a large number of people.
Zuckerberg says they will improve privacy.
When I think about the future of the internet, I think that a communications platform focused on privacy will be much more important than current open platforms,” Zuckerberg said.
Preference for privacy
The change follows the new tastes of social network users. “Today we see that private messages, ephemeral ‘stories’ and small groups are by far the fastest growing online communication formats,” Zuckerberg wrote on his Facebook page.
“Many people prefer the intimacy of one-on-one communication or only with friends. People are more careful to have a permanent record of what they share. And they hope to be able to do things like payments privately and securely,” he added.
The group president intends to technically unify the network with its other Messenger, Instagram and WhatsApp services, each with more than one billion users.
With this integration, it would be possible to exchange messages to and from those platforms, which could adopt data encryption, as is only the case currently in WhatsApp.
Controversies for two years
The strategic turn also responds to a desire to diversify the social network, to deal with slowing growth.
Pressed after an almost uninterrupted flow of controversies for more than two years ( false information, hate messages, manipulation of the platform for political purposes, handling of personal data, piracy), the group regularly claims to have learned from its mistakes.
Zuckerberg said it is increasingly important to “keep the information available for shorter periods” because “people want to know that what they share will not appear later to harm them.”
As part of that approach, Zuckerberg said Facebook has avoided maintaining data centers “in countries that have a history of rights violations, such as privacy or freedom of expression” to prevent governments from using the information to lash out at dissidents, for example.