A few days ago, Facebook was caught quietly using phone numbers as part of a privacy-violating search tool that users can’t opt out of. This was the latest in a long string of privacy blunders for Facebook. But despite the company’s evident disregard for user privacy, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg is now trying to convince people that he has a privacy-focused vision for the site.
Zuckerberg made the announcement in a Facebook post where he claimed his intention is to build a privacy-focused platform which is built around the following principles:
Private interactions. People should have simple, intimate places where they have clear control over who can communicate with them and confidence that no one else can access what they share.
Encryption. People’s private communications should be secure. End-to-end encryption prevents anyone including us from seeing what people share on our services.
Reducing Permanence. People should be comfortable being themselves, and should not have to worry about what they share coming back to hurt them later. So we won’t keep messages or stories around for longer than necessary to deliver the service or longer than people want them.
Safety. People should expect that we will do everything we can to keep them safe on our services within the limits of what’s possible in an encrypted service.
Interoperability. People should be able to use any of our apps to reach their friends, and they should be able to communicate across networks easily and securely.
Secure data storage. People should expect that we won’t store sensitive data in countries with weak records on human rights like privacy and freedom of expression in order to protect data from being improperly accessed.
While Zuckerberg’s words certainly sound good, they’re hard to believe when you consider that Facebook runs one of the biggest data mining operations on the planet and has been caught mishandling its user data time and time again.