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Zuckerberg Says Facebook To Embrace Private Messaging

Facebook To Embrace Private, Encrypted Messaging

Social media giant Facebook will embrace what CEO Mark Zuckerberg has termed “privacy-focused” communications marked by encrypted services, the executive said in a blog post on Wednesday (March 6).

“Today, we already see that private messaging, ephemeral stories and small groups are by far the fastest-growing areas of online communication,” he said in the post.

The blog post, which spans thousands of words, says the encrypted messaging would mean that “end-to-end” encryption will become a standard feature across Facebook, which seemingly takes a page from the WhatsApp playbook.

With that model in place, he said, “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” within a timeframe of “the next few years.”

In a wide-ranging effort, the firm would look to make SMS messaging interoperable across Instagram Direct, Messenger and WhatsApp.

The move, of course, comes as Facebook has been under fire for data collection. As is germane to the payments world, Zuckerberg said, too, that encrypted services could become a “platform” for other offerings, as noted in sites such as The Verge.

Messages would last a short amount of time, spanning seconds or minutes. Zuckerberg noted in his post that his company will not store “sensitive data” in countries that have weak track records on privacy or human rights.

“Upholding this principle may mean that our services will get blocked in some countries, or that we won’t be able to enter others anytime soon,” the CEO wrote. “That’s a tradeoff we’re willing to make. We do not believe storing people’s data in some countries is a secure enough foundation to build such important internet infrastructure on.”

Zuckerberg added that this shift would not be one that replaces the public platform.

“I understand that many people don’t think Facebook can or would even want to build this kind of privacy-focused platform – because frankly, we don’t currently have a strong reputation for building privacy protective services, and we’ve historically focused on tools for more open sharing,” he wrote in the post. “But we’ve repeatedly shown that we can evolve to build the services that people really want, including in private messaging and stories.”

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