Facebook’s announcement of a potential split into two products is seen as a way for the company to address lingering privacy issues. CEO Mark Zuckerberg plans to create platforms where users can build public and private connections separately. ( Mark Zuckerberg | Facebook )
Facebook co-founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg revealed more details about the company’s plan to split itself into two entities during an earning call on Wednesday.
The 34-year-old businessman first talked about his intention to divide Facebook’s product into two in a blog post in March.
He described his vision of creating a digital version of a “town square” where people can connect openly with friends, communities, and interests; and a “living room” where users can connect privately with each other. This is in response to a growing need for more privacy when using social media networks.
Dividing Facebook’s Services
During last week’s earnings call, Zuckerberg answered questions about how they intend to carry out the eventual splitting of the company.
He said the initiative will be a primary focus for Facebook for the next few years. They plan to spend at least a year consulting with various experts, law enforcement, and government officials before they launch a closed-off private service for its users.
The Facebook chief also discussed the different challenges that they believe they might encounter with such a move.
“There are really important safety and content issues in messaging,” he said.
“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 pointed out that the new approach represents a significant change in how the company typically builds its products.
A few years ago, he said they would have likely rolled out their plan and tried to handle any potential issues as they went along.
However, the company’s new approach requires them to be more proactive regarding social issues. This would allow them to execute their strategy from the ground up and get it right up front.
As far as potentially monetizing the planned private messaging service, chief financial officer Dave Wehner noted that it is a “lower, near-term priority” for Facebook.
Zuckerberg hinted that he might discuss the company’s plan in more detail at the upcoming F8 event, which is Facebook’s yearly conference with developers.
More Privacy On Social Media
Facebook’s announcement of a potential split comes after it was beset with numerous privacy controversies involving its users.
Last week, the company said it was expecting to be fined by the Federal Trade Commission to the tune of $3 billion to $5 billion for allegedly failing to protect the privacy of users’ accounts.
The penalty is said to be mostly related to the Cambridge Analytica incident, where the London-based data mining and analytics firm misused the personal data of millions of social media users.
Earlier this month, Facebook also suffered a massive data breach after app developers left the records of more than 500 million users exposed on cloud servers.
In his article, Zuckerberg recognized Facebook’s issues with privacy. This might have influenced the company’s decision to create two different products.
He believes privacy-focused communications platforms will become more important in the near future than the open platforms available today.
He mentioned how privacy offers users the freedom to be themselves and connect with others more naturally. This is the reason why people build social networks.
While it is not exactly clear how Facebook intends to split its products, Zuckerberg has hinted in the past that he plans to integrate all the company’s messaging platforms, such as Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, and Instagram, into a single, interoperable, and encrypted service.
This would allow the brands to have practically the same messaging platform while remaining as separate apps.
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