Early yesterday afternoon, Facebook Founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg shared some news with the public regarding the future of the social media channel that surprised many people.
In a blog post on Facebook, Zuckerberg detailed the need for privacy, data protection, and interoperability with technology, specifically social networks. And he hinted at big changes soon to come.
“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,” wrote Zuckerberg.
Perhaps due to recent backlash against the social network regarding its data collection practices and lack of transparency in privacy settings, is Facebook is changing its tune?
This news actually makes a lot of sense when you consider that Facebook groups and group messenger apps are some of the most highly engaged ways people communicate these days. It could also represent a business opportunity.
Zuckerberg has always valued the need for Facebook to lead the way for social networks, and he reiterated that in his blog.
To provide tangible guiding lights for the shift toward a more privacy-focused future within the network, Zuckerberg mentioned six specific principles that the company would focus on during development: private interactions, encryption, reducing permanence, safety, interoperability, and secure data storage.
These core principles are meant to create the foundation for the company’s future. However, details in his post are lacking. While the blog provides an idea on what the company would like to achieve, it leaves much to the imagination regarding the specific ways these changes will impact existing social networks, or how brands and advertisers will be impacted by the shift in focus.
Zuckerberg also mentioned an “opportunity to build a platform that focuses on all of the ways people want to interact privately,” which could mean a new platform that facilitates the digital living room that’s become commonplace among group-chat networks, including WeChat, GroupMe, and the Facebook-owned WhatsApp.
This news actually makes a lot of sense when you consider that Facebook groups and group messenger apps are some of the most highly engaged ways people communicate these days. It could also represent a business opportunity. Zuckerberg said private, encrypted messaging tools will also create room for new business tools—especially ones built around payments and commerce, the company’s current pet obsessions. The services will eventually become “a platform for many other kinds of private services,” he wrote.
Zuckerberg did not offer a firm timeframe for achieving his vision, beyond saying it would take place over the next few years. As Facebook continues to elaborate more on this new direction, how it will impact businesses in the social space will become more apparent. And these changes will likely guide and inform the social strategy for brands in the coming years.