Facebook recently hosted its F8 developer conference where the issue of user privacy continued to be an overarching theme throughout the event. At the same time, the company seeks to learn even more about its users, like who their “secret crush” is.
During Facebook’s F8 developers’ conference this week, the issue of user privacy seemed to loom over the event as Facebook announced even more invasive features and joked about the sites numerous data scandals. During a keynote speech at the event, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg joked about the company’s numerous privacy scandals with no one in the room appearing to laugh.
“I believe that the future is private,” Zuckerberg said, according to Business Insider. “As the world gets bigger and more connected, we need that sense of intimacy more than ever.” The CEO continued to say: “I get that a lot of people aren’t sure that we are serious about this. I know that we don’t exactly have the strongest reputation for privacy right now, to put it lightly.”
The joke fell flat entirely with the audience, a video by Bloomberg of Zuckerberg’s comments can be seen below:
The MIT Technology Review reported that despite being aware of the number of user privacy issues that the site has faced, Facebook plans to introduce even more invasive features. As the company plans to release it’s “Facebook Dating” app, it announced a feature for the app called “Secret Crush,” which allows users to pick nine of their Facebook friends that they would be interested in dating. If the feeling is mutual, the user will receive a notification letting them know the happy news. Facebook hopes to compete with apps such as Tinder, Bumble, and Hinge with this new feature.
Zuckerberg also announced plans to combine WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, and Instagram into one single end-to-end encrypted product but noted that this feature is likely years away from completion. Zuckerberg also revealed plans for Facebook’s wireless VR headsets which are set to ship soon and announced plans to launch the company’s Portal smart-screen device internationally.
Despite all of this, Facebook did not directly address the issue of user privacy and the company’s plans to further secure its platform going forward. Since the Cambridge Analytica scandal, Zuckerberg has promised to make Facebook more privacy-focused going forward. At the F8 conference, Zuckerberg reiterated the company’s newfound commitment to privacy stating: “At the end of the day, this isn’t just about building some new products. It’s a major shift in how we run this company,” but very few details were provided on exactly what this will entail. Zuckerberg did recently announce the company’s plans to create two distinct Facebook spaces, one being a public forum or “town square,” and the other being a private encrypted space referred to as a “living room.”
“There are really important safety and content issues in messaging and if we don’t have the ability to see the content, we need to make sure we have different tools in place to handle that,” Zuckerberg said during a recent earnings call. “A few years ago, we probably would’ve rolled this out and tried to deal with issues as they came up with but now part of our new approach of trying to be more proactive about social issues is trying to build in from the ground up, getting this right upfront.”