Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg revealed a series of changes to the company’s social apps, including Instagram and WhatsApp, as a direct response to widespread criticism of the firm’s user data protection practices, the BBC reports.
Zuckerberg said that “the future is private” and that Facebook would have a “major shift” in strategy by putting privacy first. He said that the company had to do a lot in order to rebuild trust, acknowledging the recent reputational hits due to privacy-related scandals.
The most significant changes coming to Facebook’s apps include:
- Messenger conversations will be end-to-end encrypted, meaning Facebook will not see the messages, and the platform will be fully integrated with WhatsApp
- Instagram to trial a “private like count” feature, which would hide the number of likes a post has from viewers and only show it to the account owner
- More “ephemeral” ways to share content in messages – without a permanent record
- WhatsApp secure payment services that has been trialled in India will be rolled out to other countries later this year
- Facebook app will be redesigned to make groups more important in the newsfeed, and will lose the distinctive blue branding, starting in the US and with a planned rollout in other countries soon after
- Users will be able to share posts that only include text, stickers or drawings on Instagram, through a new camera mode
Mark Zuckerberg also said Facebook was looking at ways to encode privacy across its entire infrastructure, but added that it was not going to happen overnight.