Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has a bit of a credibility problem when it comes to privacy and the big question is whether developers and ultimately customers care.
Zuckerberg’s keynote at F8 had the usual complement of goodies. First, there is the revamped Messenger, small business tools on Instagram and Messenger, and small things like new icons. The app gets lighter, Messenger becomes more of a platform, and Portal is going international. Facebook is also adding more commerce and shopping features throughout its network.
It all sounds good — except for the privacy thing. The future is privacy and Facebook sucks at it. And that smirk! Yes, Facebook may have had its big pivot, but it has to prove it’s serious. And that’ll take years.
Zuckerberg said Facebook will be a “privacy-focused social network.” He said:
I get that a lot of people don’t think we’re serious about this. I realize that we don’t have a good reputation on privacy.
Ya think? Zuckerberg chuckled as he said that. Maybe it was a nervous laugh. Perhaps it was a billionaire CEO who is singing the privacy song and just doesn’t care as long as the ad engine on the network is running well.
And it is running well. Facebook’s users are up, but it won’t break out customers on its platform. Chances are that Instagram and WhatsApp are growing, but Facebook core isn’t. Simply put, Facebook’s business is just swell.
But the delivery still matters. Zuckerberg came off as a man with limited humility who thinks he can come up with some code that’ll magically make privacy first.
The audience cheered every turn — and you have to wonder if those fan folks were planted. It wasn’t until Zuckerberg offered a free Oculus Quest device that he received real cheers.
Zuckerberg came off as a CEO who hasn’t realized the game has changed. Sure he has a plan, but he’s leading a company that has to show us it’s different. Don’t tell us. After all, we all know most of the stuff on social is curated bunk.
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