The Future is Private… and monetized

At this year’s F8 Conference, Facebook’s annual developer conference, Mark Zuckerberg continues to drag privacy in everything he mentions. Whilst you may be duped into thinking that Zuckerberg has finally matured, and realized that people’s data privacy needs to be protected, think again!

Zuckerberg is pushing for the integration of WhatsApp, Instagram, and Facebook Messenger, by allowing them to send messages from one application to another, albeit encrypted. This plan is mostly to prevent the US government from regulating the company (and escaping the accountability of policing disinformation, bullying and hate speech, among others). Facebook’s privacy play (and encryption) is a smoke-screen — Facebook do not need to know the contents of your messages, but the metadata is more than enough for them to create and fine-tune your online persona to sell to advertisers. Each of the application knows your device’s IP address, operating system, device manufacturer, and the exact device model. In addition, each message contains the date and time, location where you are sending from, and whom you are sending it to. These bits of information alone are enough to create your social graph — who your friends are, your location, your mobility (where you are sending messages from during the day, in the morning, at night), and how you are related to them based on how frequent you send messages. So, encrypted or not, it does not matter, Facebook will still earn off of you.

Facebook is also revamping from their “town square” to the “living room” concept of engagement. They are now concentrating on your Facebook group memberships. This makes it easy for Facebook to profile you, and in return easier for them to suggest other groups for you to join. In return, it reinforces your online persona on Facebook. Yes, more information, albeit even more accurate as it is based on your group memberships, to sell to advertisers.

Zuckerberg also announced a new feature to their Dating service, “Secret Crush”. Facebook will be able to collect more personal and intimate details from users — thereby allowing them far better ad targeting, which means more revenue from them. Don’t ever believe that this service is there to help you, it is there to earn them more revenue. Incidentally, it is called “secret” in the first place, and Facebook is the not one whom you share your secrets with, judging from their track records of security your data. Again, the bottom-line here is more personal and intimate detail, better targeting for ads, more money for Zuckerberg.

Remember, all of these new features are guaranteed to be private, and guaranteed to be monetized! Facebook’s business model did not change a bit. Heck, this privacy march from Facebook’s head honcho pushes their promise to provide an important feature to allow users to clear/delete their online activity history/data to the side — they’re hoping that you’d forget it.

So, just like what everything Zuckerberg says — don’t believe him. It is all a ploy — a ploy to make you think that he cares, until he messes up and says sorry, and the cycle continues. Do the right thing — download your data and delete your Facebook, WhatsApp and Instagram accounts!