Will Facebook be more private?

People with eyes covered beside Facebook logo

With growing pressure on the social media giant to protect its users’ privacy, CEO and Founder of Facebook Mark Zuckerberg stated at its recent developer conference: “I know that we don’t exactly have the strongest reputation on privacy right now, to put it lightly. But I’m committed to doing this well.”

So what did he mean?

In the past few years, people have been dissatisfied with the level of protection afforded to their personal data, and there have been concerns about “fake news” and election interference on the platform. Facebook has been hauled up in front of numerous government committees and investigations in the past few months, and something has to change to ensure the medium stays popular.

With an estimated 2.7 billion registered users, Facebook is everywhere. But with great power comes great responsibility, and this is where the Californian-based company have been letting their users down.

This prompted the CEO to announce plans to tighten privacy policies and redesign the structure to try and win back dwindling audiences. One major change will make it easier to move from the newsfeed to groups, allowing the user more control over what they see—in the hope of reducing the proliferation of “fake news”.

But the headline news was their commitment to work on the privacy issues. The fact that they are admitting there is a problem is a big step, and maybe soon we can scroll safe in the knowledge that our data is secure.

How are they planning to make it more secure?

By preventing data harvesting—the practice of targeting the user with advertisements, products and campaigns using their private data—and stemming the flow of data to political analysts. With a newer, more transparent platform and clearer data management policies, Facebook hopes to make users more comfortable using the medium.

Mr Zuckerberg made a bold statement when he said “The future is private” and we will eagerly await the results of these changes to see if he is true to his word.

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