Today, Mark Zuckerberg, the Chief Executive Officer and founder of Facebook Inc, said that the company would work to encrypt conversations on more of its messaging services and make them compatible. It comes as the latest sign that the biggest social network in the world sees its future in intimate online chats.
In a post on his Facebook profile, Zuckerberg said that “working towards implementing end-to-end encryption for all private communications is the right thing to do.” However, he warned that details of the plan could still change as the tech giant consults with some experts throughout the year.
The strategy could thwart the surveillance efforts of law enforcement as well as lawmakers who have urged Facebook to better moderate its user content. It also would limit the ability of the company to generate revenue through targeted ads.
However, Zuckerberg said that he could live with those tradeoffs since users want better control of their data while still having easy access to their contacts.
As part of the strategy of Zuckerberg, a Facebook user would be able to interact with the users of WhatsApp while only having a Messenger account and vice versa.
Zuckerberg wrote: “As I think about the future of the internet, I believe a privacy-focused communications platform will become even more important than today’s open platforms.”
The shares of Facebook were last up by 0.7 percent.
Users, investors, and lawmakers have expressed their concerns over the past two years that Facebook is not doing enough to safeguard user data after a series of privacy bugs and breaches.
Facebook is considered as one of the biggest global players in private messaging with its Messenger, Instagram, and WhatsApp each used by over a billion people. Only WhatsApp is able to fully secure conversations from all outsiders, including Facebook itself.
Police have raised concerns regarding the introduction of similar security to the other services since they would no longer be able to access online chat records to track religious extremists or other perpetrators.
Meanwhile, regulators have urged Facebook to improve its moderation of user content, however, more encryption would make it harder to view and track problematic posts.
Encrypted conversations also limit the ability of Facebook to send targeted advertisements. Facebook may be required to look for new ways to insert itself between businesses and consumers in order to generate some revenue.
Zuckerberg wrote: “Significant thought needs to go into all of the services we build on top of that foundation – from how people do payments and financial transactions, to the role of businesses and advertising, to how we can offer a platform for other private services.”