In major tech news today, Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced that the messaging services of social media platforms Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, and Instagram will soon intertwine. Or, to coin his own phrase, be “interoperable.”
The social media giant is on the verge of a complete overhaul of the way its messaging apps work. This is part of the greater aim of becoming a “privacy-focused platform.”
Social Media Messaging Services
In a vision written and posted on his Facebook page, Zuckerberg explained how he saw the future of social media:
“People want to be able to choose which service they use to communicate with people […] However, today if you want to message people on Facebook you have to use Messenger, on Instagram you have to use Direct, and on WhatsApp, you have to use WhatsApp […] We want to give people a choice so they can reach their friends across these networks from whichever app they prefer.”
Zuckerberg wants his platforms to be interoperable, so they can talk to each other. He goes on to say that this feature will eventually include compatibility with SMS.
In essence, we can talk to each other across a multitude of platforms.
It seems that the idea of interoperability stems from the importance of private experiences as opposed to baring all for all to see, a model that has shown declining numbers in recent years.
“As I think about the future of the internet, I believe a privacy-focused communications platform will become even more important than today’s open platforms […] I expect future versions of Messenger and WhatsApp to become the main ways people communicate on the Facebook network.”
Social Media Encryption
Along with rewriting how the Facebook messaging services currently operate, or “talk to each other,” the social media giant will upgrade its encryption.
WhatsApp messages are already encrypted end-to-end, meaning messages are not stored on servers and can’t be read or shared by the company. The company can’t even share messages with the authorities. Facebook Messenger has a similar feature, however, users have to opt-in to it ( I wonder how many users are even aware this is available?).
Zuckerberg has said that Facebook will work to implement the same encryption standards as found on WhatsApp on all private communications.
The CEO also said that the service will refuse to store data in countries that violate human rights.
Permanency and Privacy
Zuckerberg’s online letter also discusses the issue with the “permanence problem,” meaning that people are afraid to post something that may come back to haunt them as it remains online. Social media such as Snapchat has effectively combatted this issue by creating images and video that disappear after 24 hours. The Facebook CEO is now looking in that direction, extending this concept across its platforms.
Zuckerberg says further:
“People are more cautious of having a permanent record of what they’ve shared […] I believe the future of communication will increasingly shift to private, encrypted services where people can be confident what they say to each other stays secure and their messages and content won’t stick around forever. This is the future I hope we will help bring about.”
And if you thought the CEO wasn’t really interested in developing the idea of privacy on the internet, he titled his post “a privacy-focused vision for social networking,” letting it be known from the off which direction his idea of the future takes.
You can find the full post here. What do you think? Will Facebook move towards privacy?
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