Facebook Announces Major Privacy-Focused Transformation

Posted on March 6, 2019 by Mehedi Hassan in Social with 30 Comments

Facebook is announcing some huge plans for its services today. Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg today published a blog post on the company’s privacy-focused vision for the future as it looks to gain people’s trust back.

“I understand that many people don’t think Facebook can or would even want to build this kind of privacy-focused platform — because frankly we don’t currently have a strong reputation for building privacy protective services, and we’ve historically focused on tools for more open sharing. But we’ve repeatedly shown that we can evolve to build the services that people really want, including in private messaging and stories,” Zuckerberg said.

The company will focus heavily on end-to-end encryption for products like Facebook Messenger and Instagram to help users feel safer on the platforms. Facebook wants to focus on private, ephemeral content that’s been a major factor for most modern social networks as of late.

The company wants to deliver simple, intimate “places” for people to communicate within, and offer the sense of security that it lacks right now. The company plans to enable end-to-end encryption on its services to prevent anyone, including the company itself, from accessing people’s data. WhatsApp already offers end-to-end encryption, the idea behind the whole privacy-focused transformation is massively inspired by WhatsApp.

Facebook also plans to offer secure data storage for users, so they don’t have to worry about governments and security agents accessing their private conversations. Facebook won’t be storing data in countries that don’t respect the user’s privacy, and it is even willing to get banned in such countries to protect users’ data. “Upholding this principle may mean that our services will get blocked in some countries, or that we won’t be able to enter others anytime soon. That’s a tradeoff we’re willing to make. We do not believe storing people’s data in some countries is a secure enough foundation to build such important internet infrastructure on,” Zuckerberg wrote.

This is all just a vision for what Facebook is planning, however. None of this is shipping right now, and Zuckerberg isn’t saying when these changes will be made to its services. The changes here are huge, however — both Messenger and Instagram have billions of users, and major changes like these aren’t easy to deliver. Especially when you factor in things like government agencies and other complications, it’s not going to be easy, even for a big organization like Facebook.

Tagged with , , ,

Join the discussion!


Don't have a login but want to join the conversation? Become a Thurrott Premium or Basic User to participate

Comments (30)

30 responses to “Facebook Announces Major Privacy-Focused Transformation”

  1. Passinttd

    I didn't read the article because the headline already made me choke and spit out my drink everywhere. Didn't Facebook already "transform" itself and was "focused on our security" once up on a time? That worked out well...

  2. codymesh

    I don't think he gets it. And I think It's too late. Facebook and Whatsapp have already brought back the worst of humanity. Remember when measles was a thing of the past? Remember when no one would entertain fake stories about vaccines? Well, our racist boomer parents have decided to Make Measles Hip Again.

    Everyone would agree that such mis/disinformation should be banned because it has disastrous consequences on public health. But Facebook would disagree. To them, disastrous consequences would be the minor transgressions on letting people spread their propaganda.

    • Daekar

      In reply to codymesh:

      So you're condemning an entire generation of people for the views of a part of them, and stating your support for sweeping censorship of views you don't agree with.

      Are you sure you don't have a 3rd world dictatorship you need to see to?

      • codymesh

        In reply to Daekar:

        Lol, and right on cue, you people come out to embarrass yourself. I'm sure you can get hired at Facebook!

        The truth isn't just my "view". It isn't a personal position. Measles are coming back and it's because of mis/disinformation on social media. These are just facts. The whole idea that medical evidence could even be up for debate is bonkers to begin with.

        Anti-vaxxers don't just have a "view". There is no other position to be taken on it. They are wrong, and they are causing harm - that is the actual "view" that should be talked about. It isn't censorship. It's about priorities that have gone turned the country upside-down. You know what is 3rd world? FUCKING MEASLES

      • minke

        In reply to Daekar:

        The point is not censorship, but responsible "reporting," which is what FB is doing whether they like it or not. They are the leading source of "news" for many (most?) people and have a responsibility to fact check just like major publishers and broadcast networks do. That doesn't mean there isn't fake news also published and broadcast, but it is partly in response to the huge competition from FB and other news sources that have taken the eyeballs away. It isn't censorship to reduce the spread of falsehoods and lies. Personally, I'd love to see FB replaced with something that reports responsibly, respects privacy, and has a pleasant, fun, and useful interface. FB should die just for creating such a crappy interface that is no fun to use.

  3. locust infested orchard inc

    What a load of hogwash emanating from Fakebook.

    Not content with soliciting fake news, Fakebook has now resorted to generating fake news of its own – the alleged news covered by this article.

  4. hoomgar

    Start with the dang Messenger app.  The most promiscuous application ever made when it comes to your data.

  5. Chris Payne

    This is a whole lot of noise about nothing. The only news in FB's announcement is encryption (which we already knew was coming) and unifying of their messaging platforms. I didn't see anything here about FB actually respecting your privacy. Your data and traffic patterns will still be sold to advertisers and developers, and FB will continue operating exactly the way they have, finding more and more ways to flesh out your online profile and package it to make money.

  6. trekrich

    Too little to late!

  7. coeus89

    End to end encryption is mutually exclusive to their tailored ad-based business model so I am taking this with a small mountain of salt. not sure how they can pull this off.

  8. Tony Barrett

    I'd like to imagine, like many, FB (and Zuckerberg) crawling back under that rock at the bottom of the pond and dying a slow, painful death, but in all honesty, FB have hundreds of millions of users who probably don't give a damn about privacy - everything is up there on display, for the world to see. Announcing these new measures is too little, too late for some, but FB will probably come out shining. If though, they're talking about end-to-end encryption, where FB themselves can't access user data (yeah, right!), how does that affect their business model, which is essentially monetizing their users by collecting and processing all their data?

  9. Awhispersecho

    "Facebook is the best spy program ever created by the US Govt" that was a quote by an ex DOD, NSA, or some other agency guy. I wish I could remember who it was. I actually have the article saved on an old hard drive somewhere. Anyway, people should stop reporting on anything consumer friendly that Facebook of that POS weasle Zuck says. Just stop giving them any credit, stop giving them any press. They don't deserve it and anything they say that involves privacy or security is complete BS.

  10. red.radar

    they Have a long way to go to build trust. Didn’t they do a big push already about turning over a new leaf ? I remember it being a commercial of some sort.

  11. rmlounsbury

    Facebook can go 'eff themselves. I left their platforms last year and have no interest in coming back.

  12. OwenM

    It's genuinely difficult to trust any pro-consumer announcement made by this company these days

  13. lvthunder

    We shall see. Maybe they have seen the light. Only time will tell.

  14. spacein_vader

    "Facebook won’t be storing data in countries that don’t respect the user’s privacy"

    Wow, shutting off their US servers is a huge step.

  15. PeterC

    .... and in another news story it’s being reported that large numbers of Gloucester old spot pigs have sprouted wings and are currently dive bombing the British country side.

  16. jasecutler

    I don't know how Facebook can do both:

    • Operate as a giant ad network by knowing *everything* about its users


    • Envision the future of the internet as encrypted chats that they can't see

    That's without getting into the in feasibility of interoperability their proposing as an example for sending messages, and many other things facing us moving forward in this new internet.

    Don't get me wrong, I want more privacy. I just don't know how Facebook can even pivot to provide this given its business model.

  17. Dave P

    Damn it...where does the time go? Is it April 1st, already?! ;) /s

  18. MTrimmer

    Call me a cynic, but this seems like a desperate attempt to stop European regulators taking action against Facebook for repeatedly playing "fast and lose" with users data. The move fast, break things, apologize and promise to do better business model is about to run into a brick wall in Europe. So now, we're supposed to believe Facebook really means it this time and will make privacy a priority.

    I just don't think that approach is within Facebook's capability.

  19. markbyrn

    Facebook Privacy = oxymoron

Leave a Reply