Are you one of the 1 in 4 Americans who have deleted the Facebook app from your phone? Are privacy concerns the reason you pulled the trigger? If so, the social media platform is taking steps to try and win you back.
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced plans to make the most popular social media site in the world more appealing to users who are concerned about the cavalier attitude the company has had when it comes to sharing users data and personal information. Recently, Facebook has been at the center of multiple scandals involving user privacy and breaches.
Zuckerberg’s goal is to give users more ways to communicate privately, encrypting sensitive data in a way that can’t be read by Facebook. In a post, Zuckerberg acknowledged that “people increasingly also want to connect privately in the digital equivalent of the living room”. Details are sparse, however, when it comes to laying out what changes the company actually plans to make.
“I understand that many people don’t think Facebook can or would even want to build this kind of privacy-focused platform,” wrote Zuckerberg, “But we’ve repeatedly shown that we can evolve to build the services that people really want, including in private messaging and stories.”
Despite the proclamation, most users remain skeptical of the platform’s intentions. “This does nothing to address the ad targeting and information collection about individuals,” Jen King, director of consumer privacy at Sanford Law School’s Center for Internet and Society, was quoted as saying. “It’s great for your relationship with other people. It doesn’t do anything for your relationship with Facebook itself.”
Some advertisers are even dropping the platform all together, citing the company’s “despicable business model”. Mozilla, Basecamp, LegalAdvice.com, and Approyo are among the companies that have stopped advertising on Facebook. Despite the withdrawal of advertisers, Facebook’s earnings continue to increase and have not been impacted.
This isn’t the first time that Facebook has made a promise that they haven’t been able to keep, and only time will tell if this go around is any different. Until Zuckerberg and company announce more concrete steps, the public can only speculate on what this will do for user privacy going forward.