Facebook’s brand-new move isn’t about privacy. It’s about domination | Siva Vaidhyanathan

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Mark Zuckerberg announced on Wednesday that Facebook would be pivoting to privacy. Thats an drain pledge

If you have visited China in recent years you might have discovered how difficult it is to establish your road through without WeChat, an all-purpose mobile phone application. People in China use WeChat for everything from transmitting words to house to construe bulletin and opinion to ordering food to paying at vending machines to paying for a taxi. WeChat lets you situate money in your bank, search for a library work, make a medical appointment, conduct business conference calls, and interact with the government. In China, WeChat is the operating system of your life, as it is for almost 1.1 billion people.

For Facebook’s CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, WeChat is both his greatest challenge and the representation for the future of his firm. Zuckerberg has long missed Facebook to be the operating system of our lives- at least for those who live outside of China. WeChat is what Facebook has yet to become. WeChat, should it move beyond China and its diaspora, is also the greatest threat to Facebook’s world domination.

This, better than any exhaust and disconcerting donate of” pivoting to privacy”, illustrates Zuckerberg’s announcement on Wednesday. He is fully committed to unite the messaging assistances of his three non-Facebook stages, Instagram( 1 billion consumers ), WhatsApp( 1. five billion useds ), and Messenger( 1. 3 billion users ). He would extend the strong encryption that recognise WhatsApp from many other messaging assistances( although not, greatly, from germinating and encrypted potential challengers like Telegram and Signal) to the other two platforms and allow content to move easily among them.

Facebook hopes to draw those who use vie services like Telegram, Signal, Skype, Google’s Hangouts( formerly known as GChat ), Apple’s IMessage, or classic SMS to Facebook’s various and soon-to-be-united messaging works. Subduing all those apps, along with email and old-fashioned phone calls, would be a major step toward becoming the operating system of our lives.

Basically, this announcement represents the WhatsApp won’t change as numerous feared- abandoning encryption and becoming more like Messenger. Instead, Messenger will become more like WhatsApp. This would be the first step toward unifying these services to work and ogle a lot more like- and thus prepared to compete against- WeChat.

Despite all the hype, Zuckerberg said nothing about changing Facebook itself. Facebook, with 2.3 billion users and thriving, will still watch everything you do, will dictate what you read and see in your Newsfeed, and will boast advertisements were aimed at you on the basis of the massive surveillance organisation Facebook has built over the past decade. It will still give photographs of puppies and babes along with hate speech, scheme possibilities, and calls to genocide. It will still chip away at republic and starve journalism.

This recent announcement, with all its unwarranted hype about a “pivot” or a “move” dishes more of Zuckerberg’s interests. It disconcerts correspondents and pundits from various disclosures that show how brazenly Facebook manipulates and abuses its users.

For times we have been instructed to use” two-factor authentication” to secure the login process for services and platforms. Facebook itself inspires us to have it send a message to our mobile phones to confirm that we are who we say we are before logging in. But Facebook does not protect your number from levering attentions or advertisers. Using a phone number anyone can look up a Facebook profile, and there is no way for users to opt out. This introduces parties at risk for purposes of Facebook’s they are able to trail them. Given that identity on WhatsApp is mobile-number specific, it’s likely that our multitudes will be the source of more vulnerability in the future.

And last week we learned that at least 11 favourite health applications were sharing extremely sensitive personal data with Facebook through mobile phones. At least one work, Flo Period and Ovulation Tracker, decided to cease that rehearsal once it came to light. This was the most recent in a series of revealings about how Facebook tracks people- even those who are not Facebook customers- through mobile designs and applications. Nothing in Zuckerberg’s recent notice mutates this.

Beyond abuses, Facebook has another plan to make itself essential to the daily lives of parties various regions of the world. It plans to create a new crypto currency for its useds. WhatsApp consumers could soon use the currency to prescribe nutrient bringings or obtain civilize tickets. Imagine if the 1.5 billion WhatsApp customers start moving coin to relatives in other countries using a money Facebook self-controls and fees Facebook approves. That could push away numerous unsavory assistances that fee high fees. It could also consolidate even more unaccountable world-wide dominance in Facebook.

The eventual merger of these pulpits under the mothership, Facebook, could effectively block any governmental attempts to sever Instagram and WhatsApp from the company. It might take years for the European union countries or the United Country government to muster the legal footing and political will to break up Facebook. By that time Zuckerberg could allege that this new, federated work has shared its back-end data and core performs for too long. There would be nothing distinct to separate. Plus, Zuckerberg could argue that encrypted private messages protect users better than the only other major rival in the world, WeChat.

In the coming engagement against WeChat, Facebook can use its pledge to protect private contents from snooping states to his advantage. TenCent, the company that renders WeChat, is very close to the government of the People’s Republic of China and WeChat users assume their communication is subject to state surveillance. Facebook might collaborate with brutal dictatorials like Rodrigo Duterte in the Philippines, but it’s still not yet as dangerous as WeChat. That’s something, I suspect. And it might be enough to ensure domination for many years to come.

For too long, “were having” take Mark Zuckerberg at his term. Too many times he has revealed us. Let’s not fall for it again. This move is not about protecting you. It’s about overcoming other companies and consolidating global power.

Siva Vaidhyanathan is the Robertson Professor of Media Studies at the University of Virginia and the author of Antisocial Media: How Facebook Disconnects Us and Undermines Democracy

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