Zuckerberg strikes again! His recent announcement of Facebook’s new vision and ways to make the platform more secure amid controversy that millions of users’ security has been breached. If you don’t remember the drama, users’ personal information was leaked and improperly used by the UK-based consultancy Cambridge Analytica in 2018.

In a lengthy statement, Zuckerberg described the end-to-end encryption they want to implement on Facebook messenger as well as their other messaging platforms such as Instagram’s direct message. The end-to-end encryption is a way to ensure that the messages exchanged between individuals will stay private to the messaging parties, and won’t be exposed to any other person including the government and/or Facebook itself. The method is already in use on WhatsApp, which by the way, Facebook also owns.

While building WhatsApp, the focus was on the privacy so that users would have a platform where they don’t have to fear their conversations are being creeped on by unwanted parties, thus allowing the individual to be more comfortable expressing himself. So, to get Facebook to a level of security that would compare or exceed that of WhatsApp, Zuckerberg and his team started working on strategies to implement changes.

Although it wasn’t clear how long the entire process would take to implement these safety measures, here’s what we know:

  1. Zuckerberg wants to transform the messaging platforms from a “town square” to a “digital living room” where users feel comfortable having conversations
  2. Sensitive information will be kept for a shorter period of time such as a month or a year, and the users might even have the option of choosing how long they want to display a specific message on the recipient’s device before they send it.
  3. While end-to-end encryption is a perfect way to ensure benign conversations stay private, it is a bit of a hiccup because it also allows malignant content and intentions to be shared through a highly encrypted server, making it much harder for these conversations to be detected.
    • To make sure they still have a way of identifying these harmful conversations, they’ll be working with cybersecurity firms and the government to develop the right level of encryption to make sure their good intentions doesn’t cause them any more headaches.
  4. All messaging platforms such as Facebook’s Messenger, Instagram’s Direct Message, and WhatsApp will be integrated so that the users can have the opportunity to pick the platform they want to be messaging on, and use all three interchangeably.
  5. With regards to data centers not being installed in countries where human rights records are weak, and where privacy and freedom are more likely to be invaded by the officials or harmful parties will stay the same – Zuckerberg stated that this is a trade-off Facebook is willing to take to ensure top security.

Finally, Zuckerberg admitted on his statement that people don’t have much faith in Facebook’s abilities to increase safety, due to its reputation that has been stained by numerous events, the latest being the data breach discovered in late 2018. Despite, the statement is very detailed and shows initiative that Facebook hasn’t taken before. It sounds like Zuckerberg is finally listening to the feedback and responding to the backlashes. Only time will tell if any of these promises will be possible to implement. Stay tuned!

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