In 2015, Mark Zuckerberg had grown uncomfortable with his message history. His old instant messages had made him in trouble earlier – people are still tweeting juvenile IMs from his college days – and the 2014 hack had made him more concerned about his potential exposure. And then Facebook's CEO took a step when he was unavailable to some of the 2.2 billion other users of the platform: he snapped his fingers, Thanos-like, and the messages disappeared.
Some of Zuckerberg's correspondents noticed that their old conversations suddenly became one-sided, and finally told TechCrunch 's Josh Constine, who broke the story in April last year. There have been many Facebook privacy scandals over the last couple of years, but nobody bothered me much like this. As I wrote here at that time:
The good news is that Facebook knows how to build robust privacy tools whenever it wants. The bad news is that it has reserved such a powerful tool for the CEO and only admitted it under coercion. The Zuckerberg deleted all his chats while leaving the recipient's messages intact, saying more about how he looks at privacy than any delayed excuse ever could.
Imagine my surprise when Zuckerberg announced today ̵
I tried to cover the news of a story for The Verge . Among the key sets from Zuckerberg's post is this:
"I believe the future of communication will increasingly shift to private, encrypted services where people can be sure of what they say to each other, are secure, and their messages and content will not hold on to always, Zuckerberg says. "This is the future I hope we will help create."
How important is all this? The first question people ask is whether Zuckerberg means what he says, and there are many doubters. : Walt Mossberg ; About Malik ; Sam Biddle and Facebook Investors, who barely moved the share price today.) John Herrman noted that Zuckerberg was against privacy Before he was there and wondered if the CEO should not have given more detail about the nature of his last religious conversion.
Then the fact that Facebook's privacy laws have historically been destroyed. A much ballyhooed privacy feature announced in 2014 on F8, never sent. And we are still waiting for a "clear story" button that was announced in May last year.
But say you take Zuckerberg on his word. Say Facebook turns to privacy, invests most of its energy into groups and messaging products. If that's true, then what's that true?
The news stream becomes an inheritance product . Since its introduction, the endless scroll of updates from your friends has been at the heart of Facebook – synonymous with the experience of using the app itself. Zuckerberg only told the world that he expects it to slowly fade away – not without use, but no longer the center of all social media. This can have implications that extend far beyond Facebook, such as to Instagram, and to Twitter.
Facebook must find a new business model . News Feed is more than just Facebook's core consumer product – it's the company's core business. The news feed along with Google's AdWords is the most lucrative ad product built. A world where it tolerates away is one in which Facebook must first replace, than exceed the revenue it currently generates from advertising. It will be a wonderful task.
The new business model is likely to be trade . Trade and pay out all the rage in Facebook these days. On the retail page, Instagram spins up a stand-alone shopping app. On the payout front, David Marcus & # 39; s team is developing a crypto competition. In his blog post, Zuckerberg says that a more private suite of Facebook services will give rise to "businesses, payments, trade and ultimately a platform for many other types of private services."
Regulators must select ]. Lawmakers in some countries have expressed concern about a key element of Zuckerberg's plan, which is to unite the backend technologies that drive Messenger, Instagram, and WhatsApp. Among other things, the move makes it more difficult for the Federal Trade Commission to order Facebook to spin one or both of the latter two acquisitions. The question is whether they can allow the association to go through in exchange for more robust privacy protection and a new business model that is less dependent on personal information. (This is a stretch! All this is a stretch!)
Facebook will be banned in large countries . Countries, including Russia and Vietnam, are increasingly demanding that technology platforms store user data locally, where it is more easily captured by law enforcement agencies. The pivot to privacy is not square with those laws, and can have significant consequences. Zuckerberg seems to resign to this destiny:
"Maintaining this principle may mean that our services will be blocked in some countries, or that we may not be able to enter others at any time soon," writes Zuckerberg. "It's a compromise we're willing to do. We don't believe saving people's data in any country is a sure enough basis for building such an important internet infrastructure."
Facebook will never open for business in China . Ryan Mac has an older Facebook official who says this is the case.
Facebook is increasingly finding itself in violation of law enforcement . People are planning terrorism and other crimes using encrypted messaging apps, and in Facebook's encrypted future, we can expect law enforcement agencies around the world to make a big contribution to Facebook's involvement. If I am on Facebook's communication team, I would actually see this as a good thing: Facebook stands up for its users in the face of pressure from, say, the FBI can help change the public feelings about who has their backs, regardless of information about the case. (I hasten to add that terrorism is bad and I hope no one is using WhatsApp to plan it!)
Misinformation is getting harder to track . WhatsApp is already a great source of misinformation in countries where it is popular, especially India and Brazil. If you switch more public conversation to encrypted private areas, it means we have less visibility in the public feeling – and potentially how politics are played by candidates and interest groups. There are tradeoffs all the way down.
If you work on Facebook, all this will constitute an extraordinary amount of change. It's not exactly, unparalleled; A reader resembled Microsoft's 2002 announcement that it would put privacy and security ahead of new feature training, after years of critical criticism. But it's still likely to be pretty messy.
Everything that said: It can also have real benefits, especially for ordinary people who just want to write friends, family and colleagues, and not get it back to haunt them. (Or have these messages used to target ads to them, as Messenger currently does.) This was Snapcat's original insight, and Facebook still teaches it all these years later.
Zuckerberg enjoys grand statements – it's less than four years since he stated that the news feed one day would primarily be video, and only two years ago he announced that Facebook would concentrate on "developing social infrastructure", what might have meant. At least neither vision was fulfilled.
Valve under fire as sexually explicit gambling rape is listed on Steam
. Each platform needs a content material policy when Valve found out when someone planned to sell a game where players controlled a "threatening rapist." Today, the company said it would not sell the game after all.
US Users leave Facebook by millions, Edison Research says
Edison Research's national phone survey of Americans found a decline in the use of Facebook, reports Kimberly Adams:
New numbers from Edison Research show an estimated 15 Millions fewer users in the United States compared to 2017. The biggest decline is in the highly desirable 12- to 34-year-old group. Marketplace Tech got a first look at Edison's latest social media research. It revealed that almost 80 percent of people in the US post, tweeter or snap, but fewer come to Facebook.
Facebook's reputation hits a new survey
Talking about surveys: Facebook's reputation fell to a new low in a national poll conducted by Axios, Scott Rosenberg reports.
Congo's internet breakdown disturbed news exchanges under cover of counterfeit news
Trésor Kalonji writes about journalists' extraordinary work in the Congo to report a recent election despite an international closure of the government party:
The suspension lasts for 20 days – from December 31, 2018 to January 19, 2019 – and had great implications for the country, except for selected businesses that were allowed to retain full access. According to Netblock's Cost of Shutdown Tool, blocking social media alone may have cost the country as much as $ 2,980,324. The stop also had implications for the media, including Habari and politico.cd, who were forced to temporarily move some of their staff to Brazzaville, the capital of the neighboring Republic of Congo, at considerable cost.
Bypassing many of the difficulties we would encounter, and to ensure the continuation of publications on the site, made some Habari employees in the east way to Rwanda so they could access the internet without restrictions. Crossing the border with Rwanda is free, but employees who do not have a Rwandan residence had to cross back before it closed at 10am. 22:00.
Snap Paid Settlement for Women Who Claimed Discrimination
Georgia Wells has a scoop on how Snap is dealing with their mistreatment of female employees – by paying them!
Last year, Snap paid settlements to at least three female employees who were deleted in redundancies as they claimed disproportionately targeted women, according to people familiar with the case.
The layoffs came months after an engineer at the firm raised concerns in an email to his colleagues about what she said was a sexist culture, an assessment that CEO Evan Spiegel later described as a "wake-up call".
Facebook Shakes Up Policy Communications Team
Ashley Gold reports that two of my trusted Facebook communications people, Matt Steinfeld and Robert Traynham, are continuing. Steinfeld relies on SoftBank, and Traynham moves "elsewhere on Facebook."
How Middle School Subverted Instagram's Slider Emoji Tool
Evan Selinger reports on some innovative cruelty among middle schools. Of course, the Instagram slider involves the emoji tool.
Children at Rory's school use it to ask, "How much do you think I like you?" Then they publish the result of each child's answer. How? Not by using an official opinion tool, but by sharing a screenshot.
There is an extra special subversive twist, one that is optimized for spreading misery. They not only add clean screens but add new information. They notice how much they really like the person who had the risk of being convicted of the public – putting on a clear screen for everyone to see the difference between how much a person thought she was valued and the real deal.
Tinder Privately Valued at Roughly $ 10 Billion by Match Group: Sources
"A recent independent valuation of Tinder on behalf of the parent company Match Group has placed the value of the software program at around $ 10 billion, an astounding increase from a value of $ 3 billion less than two many years ago, reports Alex Heath.
Facebook's promised privacy tool for Clear History, which is now being launched later this year
From last week, when the newsletter was paused but recently relevant It is talking about the big gap that often exists between announcing something and sending it:
The Clear History tool was promised in May last year, just before the company's F8 developer conference, and at that time it was just one idea designed to earn back lost user trust, BuzzFeed News reported in a study of Clear History's rocky development published last week. At that time, CEO Mark Zuckerberg described the tool as the same as the browser's history, and a step forward to help the company repair its image after the Cambridge Analytics data security scandal.
Are men on Google paid less than women? Not really
Nitasha Tiku makes sense about Google's latest paycheck, which showed that in one case, a group of men were becoming underpaid over women doing the same job. (The error was captured before the wages went out.)
Google said it shared the male pay differential in this case because the results were counterintuitive. But the analysis comes as Google is facing a survey by the US Department of Labor and a lawsuit by current and former female employees, both of which claim that Google systematically discriminates against women in pay and promotion. Kelly Ellis, a former Google software engineer and plaintiff in the case, claims she was employed at Level 3, the recent college degree category, despite having four years of professional experience. The lawsuit claims that weeks after Ellis joined the company, Google hired a male engineer with the same level 4 experience as translated into higher pay and potential access to bigger bonuses and multiple stocks.
And finally …  Teens & # 39; Like & # 39; Everything on social media now
Likes used to be sacred – used sparingly, in honor of just the most valuable content. But the next generation just likes everything that Hussein Kesvani writes, devalues the very heart of the icon:
In some ways, I admit to the cousin, littering his feed, with likes who could actually be interpreted as a form of resistance. After all, everything that breaks up the algorithm that gave so much of his personal information to the Big Social and the advertisers it ranks in cash. Could it be that, instead of being superfluous in its effectiveness, was the key to regaining the internet?
Time will tell. Meanwhile, you can tap your thumb on your thumb at the end of this newsletter!
Talk to me
Send me tips, comments, questions and your most private encrypted ephemeral messages: firstname.lastname@example.org.