Mark Zuckerberg, founder and CEO of Facebook, gave his keynote speech today at the annual Facebook F8 Developers Conference in San Jose, California. He described how Facebook’s suite of software and hardware will be increasing the privacy of individual interactions, but did not address ongoing concerns about the safety and privacy of user data.
How Facebook will emphasize privacy in user interactions
Zuckerberg alluded to the company’s poor reputation for privacy as the first order of business in his speech, before announcing updates to the company’s suite of hardware and software. He declared an intention to correct these wrongs, but told the crowd of developers that it will “take time”, that they will continue to “unearth old issues”, and that it “won’t feel like progress at first.”
Accordingly, Facebook is redesigning its app and website experience to focus on real-life friends and groups over the more public town square-like experience of the past. The company is also introducing encryption and impermanence to the Messenger platform in an effort to keep individual conversations private. U.S. users will start to see the redesign roll out today or in the very near future, but more comprehensive platform changes are expected to take much longer.
Overall, this shift is nothing new, since Facebook has slowly rolled out changes to its newsfeed algorithm supporting this move over the past couple of years, and users are already using these features in increasing numbers using other apps like WhatsApp and Snapchat.
Facebook is also limiting the ways that third-party app developers can collect and access data. For example, personality quizzes that collect unnecessary personal information are being shut down.
Despite controversy, Facebook depends on data collection
Facebook’s multibillion-dollar revenue depends on targeted advertising that’s fueled by personal information gleaned from users. According to the trends analyst group eMarketer, Facebook annual ad revenue is projected to reach $81.45 billion dollars in 2020.
To Facebook’s stakeholders, this amount of revenue may be significant enough to dwarf scandals like the Cambridge Analytica data leak. But many individual users are questioning whether using Facebook is worth losing control over their personal information.
If you’re thinking of leaving Facebook, know that deactivating your account is not enough to stop data collection. Instead, you’ll need to permanently delete your Facebook account.