As Facebook’s annual developers conference kicked off, CEO Mark Zuckerberg set the stage by saying: “We are going to talk about building a privacy-focused platform.”
CGTN’s Mark Niu reports.
In response to the company’s data privacy scandals, Zuckerberg attempted to strike a tone of humility.
“I get that a lot of people aren’t sure we are serious about this. I know that we don’t exactly have the strongest reputation on privacy right now to put it lightly,” said Zuckerberg on stage. “But I’m committed to doing this well and starting a new chapter for our products.
Zuckerberg laid out some of the core principles in his privacy vision – end-to-end encryption, secure data storage, and reducing the permanency of messages – so what you say on social media won’t come back to haunt you later.
“It’s no surprise that the fastest ways we are all communicating online are private messaging, in small groups, and in stories,” said Zuckerberg. “As the world gets bigger and more connected, we need that sense of intimacy more than ever. So that’s why I believe that the future is private.”
“That’s totally up in the air,” said Karsten Weide, the program vice president of Media and Entertainment at IDC. “They said they would redesign the service around these items but how exactly they are going to do that is another question.”
As Facebook rolled out a redesigned look called FB5, Zuckerberg admitted that years ago they would have just rolled it out and figured out how to adjust to problems as they came up. But now he said his company is taking a more open and consultative approach.
That means taking a year to actually working with experts, law enforcement, and governments around the world to discuss how to build the right safety features.
Hits to its reputation don’t seem to have hurt Facebook’s business.
“If there is a significant defection of users or reduced usage times, it doesn’t really show in the numbers. Not in a dramatic way anyway. Revenues are still increasing,” said Weide.
Facebook revealed it’s making a deeper push into payments and shopping through its Messenger app and its popular Instagram app, looking to emulate what WeChat has done in China.
New shopping features will allow Instagram influencers to feature products on their photos that can be bought by followers with just a few clicks.
Other new features will challenge Zuckerberg’s commitment to privacy.
The company announced Facebook Dating, which seeks to help people that have never met before find romance.
Facebook will also offer a new feature called Secret Crush. Users can select friends they are secretly interested in. If those friends feel the same way, Secret Crush will reveal the match.