Beneath all the privacy bells and whistles, and behind a shiny new coat of white paint, the fundamental advertising machine remains unchanged.
Mark Zuckerberg has a new mantra: “The future is private”.
It’s an extraordinary statement, given the messenger. Facebook has been mired in one privacy scandal or another almost its entire life, and the past two years have been a nonstop rollercoaster of red-hot crises.
But the 34-year-old billionaire is leaning hard into a so-called pivot to privacy, and on Tuesday he laid out more of his vision for the future of his suite of apps at the developer conference F8, the biggest event of the year for Facebook.
This revolves around six core principles: private interactions, encryption, reduced permanence, interoperability, and secure data storage. But the way Facebook defines privacy isn’t the way ordinary people might understand it.
There’s a reason why investors aren’t spooked
When people talk about privacy in relation to Facebook, what they’re often talking about is privacy from Facebook and its ravenous algorithms. The company has mishandled users’ data repeatedly and on an unprecedented scale, while building immensely complex internal profiles of these users for advertising purposes.
Facebook now plans to encrypt users’ messages to one another by default – and yes, this will mean that Facebook can no longer read your private communications with friends.