Home » News » Zuckerberg commits Facebook to Private Messaging

Zuckerberg commits Facebook to Private Messaging

Zuckerberg commits Facebook to Private Messaging

Wednesday, 13 March, 2019

In a lengthy blog post Facebook’s somewhat beleaguered CEO Mark Zuckerberg has committed to end-to-end encryption – so-called ‘Private Messaging’ – across Facebook as a standard feature.

The lengthy blog explains that Facebook will take the WhatsApp model – referring to the encrypted messaging app acquired in 2014 by the social media behemoth – and will look to make SMS messaging inter-operable across Instagram Direct, Messenger as well as WhatsApp itself.

The announcement comes as Facebook continues to face increasing criticism over its policies regarding data collection and its subsequent dubious practices of collating data and allowing brands to sell advertising against it. Facebook has spent the last two years embroiled in scandals such as with Cambridge Analytica and continued when Facebook was hit with the largest data breach in the company’s history.

Zuckerberg said the encrypted services would become standard across Facebook’s suite of messaging apps. This, he said would be enabled by the ‘unification of the back-end technology that powers them’.

Mr Zuckerberg went on to state that Facebook, ‘will not store sensitive data in countries with weak records on human rights like privacy and freedom of expression.’ Countries such as Russia and Vietnam are demanding that tech platforms store user data locally, where it can be more easily intercepted by law enforcement agencies. This welcome move means Facebook is unlikely to be opened in China, at least for the foreseeable future.

One aspect he aired was in making messages more short-lived. The company, he said, would consider deleting messages after a month or a year and allowing a user to opt out if they wanted. In this Facebook may let a user set individual messages to expire after a few seconds or minutes.

Of course, when it comes to Facebook, there is a great business opportunity of embracing encryption across its platforms. In the blog post, Mark Zuckerberg says private, encrypted messaging tools will also create room for new business tools, especially, he notes around payments and commerce. The service he said will eventually become, ‘a platform for many other kinds of private services.’

In the blog Mark Zuckerberg did not offer a time frame in which this brave new world will come into being, beyond saying it would be, ‘over the next few years.’ The cynics among us are not holding our breath as we have all been here before with Facebook’s promises.

Facebook has one of the worst reputations on privacy among all the major tech companies, so it is welcome news that it seems they have learnt some important lessons from previous failings on customer data. That said, there is still a long way to go to redeem that reputation.

Image: Anthony Quintano

Tim Bamford author picture


Tim is a veteran freelance journalist writing extensively on internet news and cybersecurity.

News What's the story?

Keep up with the latest developments in UK broadband.

The biggest malware threats of 2020…so far

It’s been a year few of us will forget in a hurry. As the end of June approaches, we review the biggest malware threats of 2020 so far

The biggest malware threats of 2020…so farThe biggest malware threats of 2020…so far Read more

Instagram could become the main news source for young people.

Reuters finds changes in the way younger users consume the news.

Read more

BT launches second line service

BT launches second broadband home line service for the new crop of home workers.

Read more

Best broadband areas for online gaming in the UK.

Read more

Help Learn with us

Make the most of the internet with our broadband library.

How to check if your broadband is down

It might seem obvious that an outage has occurred, but there are easy ways to check if your broadband is down, or whether the problem is more localised

How to check if your broadband is downHow to check if your broadband is down Read more

A guide to Big Tech alternatives.

It seems like we’re reliant on a small group of companies, are there alternatives?

Read more

Quick tips for boosting home broadband speed

Boosting speed can transform activities like streaming, gaming and accessing cloud storage

Read more

What’s the difference between hardware, firmware and software?

Read more