Tech pros have an interesting relationship with Facebook. At its annual F8 conference, Facebook makes splashy announcements meant to get developers and users excited about the company and its services. But can you trust the company this year, especially in the wake of massive data and privacy scandals?
The question is simple enough, but the inputs are complex. Facebook says the right things publicly, but time and again its behind-closed-doors actions are quite opposite. It restricts developer access to user data directly, but failed to police the worst actors who sneak in via polling apps, for example.
In 2019, the company is promising end-to-end encryption for just about all its messaging platforms. It also says Instagram, Facebook Messenger, and WhatsApp will work together, and all messages will stay encrypted. This all sounds great, right?
Onstage at F8 2019, Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg said the company would “keep unearthing old issues for a while.” That came after this gem:
The future is private… I get that a lot of people aren’t sure we’re serious about this. We don’t have the strongest reputation on privacy right now, to put it lightly.Mark Zuckerberg, F8 2019
Facebook is facing a massive fine many feel isn’t adequate enough. It’s also making a creepy AI assistant for Portal (which currently uses the possibly-creepier Alexa). Most of you want Facebook split up: It stack-ranks employees and pins bonuses to ‘social issues.’ People want to quit.
The real question is how much we trust Facebook. It’s insisting on a sea change for its entire platform, which naturally means changes for its business model. Traditionally, its business model has been to strip-mine users for data and sell ad space. If everything is private and locked-down, it makes that much harder… unless there’s a lot Facebook isn’t telling us.
This is the first day of a ‘new’ Facebook – but is it really new? It’s made a big deal of its messaging platform, but the news feed is still ripe with misinformation, and the company hasn’t promised to change how it analyzes users. It could be business as usual. Private messaging could be Facebook shifting the goalposts so we forget just how bad it really is.
But we want to know your thoughts. Take our anonymous survey above, and we’ll publish the results next week!