Facebook outlines plans for 'privacy-focused' integration of Instagram, WhatsApp and Messenger

Posted March 10, 2019

"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".

Zuckerberg framed the strategy as a user choice, including the phrase "people want" six times in his blog post, and citing the fast growth of ephemeral and private communication on his company's services.

At the same time, he noted that "there's an important difference between providing a service in a country [where human rights are violated] and storing people's data there".

Mark Zuckerberg wants to reposition Facebook as a privacy-focused platform.

As Zuckerberg himself acknowledged, the idea the company will reorient itself around privacy will strike many users as improbable or paradoxical. Zuckerberg has huffed and puffed over the recent years without bringing down the Great Wall. He wants to build up his business around encrypted communications on What'sApp, Facebook Messenger and Instagram, even as he continues to mint money from the lucrative advertising business built around the open Facebook News Feed.

It's a serious enough problem that Facebook's gone as far as to limit users' ability to forward messages to multiple chats at once, in hopes that it will reduce the amount of misinformation being shared.

After being involved in many data breaches and privacy debacles, Zuckerberg said he aims to build Facebook into a private service which is more secure, like WhatsApp, which has end-to-end encryption.

He added that he believes public social networks will continue to be "very important" to people due to their power to connect individuals, but that the way people want to use them has changed. Zuckerberg, CEO, Facebook, wrote a long post detailing his company's intentions about privacy, user data among many other things. "App developers share data with Facebook through the Facebook Software Development Kit (SDK), a set of software development tools that help developers build apps for a specific operating system", and as per the report, there are 2/3 of the 34 Android apps, PI tested, which also include some of the popular names like Spotify and Kayak and both of the apps have more than 10 million downloads. By tapping into private communication, Facebook would be able to restore the trust of the public, which was damaged after the social network's mishaps.

Zuckerberg then laid out the key areas Facebook would need to focus on for a more privacy-based platform: Private interactions, encryption, reducing permanence, safety, interoperability, and secure data storage.

On another front, Facebook will allow users to opt in to send or receive messages across any of its services - Messenger, WhatsApp and Instagram - and then to extend that to wireless SMS messaging as well. Stories already expire after 24 hours unless you archive them, and that gives people the comfort to share more naturally. "You can imagine many simple experiences like this - a person discovers a business on Instagram and easily transitions to their preferred messaging app for secure payments and customer support", he explained.

Like a reformed smoker or a born again evangelist, Zuckerberg has discovered the importance of privacy - hallelujah! - and all it took was a couple of years of scandal and the threat of predatory regulators circling like sharks in the ocean. It actually contained several interesting points on how Facebook's CEO sees social media evolving in the future.