The Internet just about erupted this week when Mark Zuckerberg published his “Privacy-Focused Vision for Social Networking.” We can’t help but be suspicious.
The essay comes at a time when Facebook has been under intense scrutiny for sharing users’ privacy data with advertisers and big business.
What strikes me as odd, however, is that much of the theme of Zuckerberg’s post focuses on Facebook’s commitment to end-to-end encryption and private messaging. Zuckerberg says that Facebook and Instagram connect people in the digital equivalent of a town square, but how “people increasingly also want to connect privately in the digital equivalent of the living room.”
Correct me if I am wrong, but why is he distracting us with metaphors and pyche-analysis of the human need in social environments. We don’t care whether we are in a town square or a damn living room – why do you need to know where we are, Zuckerberg?
Zuckerberg says he wants to have people connect more naturally over social networks and believes that offering private, encrypted services is the avenue to do that. But humans are naturally inclined to connect over social media; we’ve been doing it for years now. Sending private messages to our friends does not prevent Facebook from still having our data at the end of the day. The fact that Zuckerberg took the time to write this memo while failing to recognize the real issue at the heart of Facebook makes me think he doesn’t just want us to keep our secrets, he wants to have them, too.