Facebook, which grew into a colossus by vacuuming up information in every possible way and using it to target ads at users, now says its future lies in privacy-oriented messging.

Mark Zuckerberg, co-founder and CEO, announced the Shift on Wednesday in a blog post apparently intended to blunt both criticism of the company’s data handling and potential antitrust action. He said that the company would prioritise giving people ways to communicate in a truly private fashion, with their intimate thoughts and pictures shielded by encryption in ways that Facebook itself can’t read.
But Mr. Zuckerberg didn’t suggest any changes to Facebook’s core newsfeed-and-groups-based service, or to Instagram’s social network, currently the fastest growing part of the company.

Critics aren’t convinced Mr. Zuckerberg is committed to meaningful change.

“This does nothing to address the ad targeting and in formation collection about individuals,” said Jen King, director of consumer privacy at Stanford Law School’s Center for Internet and Society. “It’s great for your relationship with other people. lt doesn’t do anything for your relationship with Facebook itself.”

Facebook has suffered privacy lapses that have amplified the calls for regulations that would hold companies more accountable when they improperly expose their users’ information.

As part of his effort to make amends, Mr. Zuckerberg plans to stitch together its Messenger, WhatsApp and Instagram messaging services so users will be able
to contact each other across all of the apps.
Meanwhile, Facebook and the lnstagram photo app would still operate more like a town square where people can openly share whatever they want.


Critics have raised another posible motive the threat of antitrust crackdowns. Integration could make it much more difficult, if not impossible, to later separate and Spin off Instagram and WhatsApp as separate companies. 

“I see that as the goal of this entire thing,” said Blake Reid, a University of Colorado law professor who specialises in technology and policy. He said Facebook could tell antitrust authorities that WhatsApp‚ Instagram and Facebook Messenger are tied so tightly together that it couldn’t unwind them.

Combining the three services also lets Facebook build more complete data profile on all of its users.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *