Facebook’s new move isn’t about privacy. It’s about dictatorship | Siva Vaidhyanathan

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Mark Zuckerberg announced on Wednesday that Facebook would be rotating to privacy. Thats an empty pledge

If you have visited China in recent years you might have discovered how hard it is to make your practice through without WeChat, an all-purpose mobile phone application. Beings in China use WeChat for everything from moving contents to kinfolk to reading information and opinion to ordering nutrient to compensating at vending machines to paying for a taxi. WeChat tells you lodge money in your bank, search for a library notebook, make a medical appointment, conduct business conference call, and treated with the governmental forces. 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 modeling for the future of his fellowship. Zuckerberg has long craved Facebook to be the operating system of our lives- at the least for those who live outside of China. WeChat is what Facebook has yet to become. WeChat, should be used be extended beyond China and its diaspora, is also the biggest threat to Facebook’s world domination.

This, better than any empty and distracting assurance of” pivoting to privacy”, excuses Zuckerberg’s announcement on Wednesday. He pledged to unite the messaging business of his three non-Facebook platforms, Instagram( 1 billion users ), WhatsApp( 1. five billion customers ), and Messenger( 1. 3 billion useds ). He would extend the strong encryption that discriminates WhatsApp from many other messaging business( although not, significantly, from thriving and encrypted potential opponents like Telegram and Signal) to the other two scaffolds and allow content to move easily among them.

Facebook hopes to draw those who usage contesting assistances 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 business. Mashing all those apps, together with email and old-fashioned telephone call, would be a major step toward growing the operating system of our lives.

Basically, this announcement intends the WhatsApp won’t change as numerous panicked- abandoning encryption and becoming more like Messenger. Instead, Messenger will become more like WhatsApp. This would be the first step toward mixing these services to work and watch 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 useds and developing, will still watch everything you do, will prescribe what you read and see in your Newsfeed, and will feature advertisings targeted at you based on the massive surveillance system Facebook has built over the past decade. It will still share pictures of puppies and children along with hate lecture, scheme speculations, and calls to murder. It will still chip away at democracy and starve journalism.

This recent announcement, with all its unacceptable hype about a “pivot” or a “move” provides more of Zuckerberg’s interests. It distracts correspondents and commentators from several revealings that show how brazenly Facebook manipulates and mistreats its users.

For times we have been instructed to use” two-factor authentication” to secure the login process for services and platforms. Facebook itself spurs 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 count from levering gazes or advertisers. Utilizing a telephone number everyone can look up a Facebook profile, and there is no way for useds to opt out. This applies beings at risk for the sake of Facebook’s ability to track them. Established that identity on WhatsApp is mobile-number specific, it’s likely that our multitudes will be the causes of more vulnerability in the future.

And last week we learned that at least 11 popular health applications were sharing extremely sensitive personal data with Facebook through mobile phones. At least one service, Flo Period and Ovulation Tracker, decided to cease that rehearsal once it is necessary to brightnes. This was the most recent developments in a range of shows about how Facebook racetracks parties- even those who are not Facebook customers- through mobile designs and applications. Nothing in Zuckerberg’s latest edict changes this.

Beyond abuses, Facebook “ve got another” plan to make itself essential to the daily lives of people around the world. It plans to create a new crypto money for its users. WhatsApp useds could soon use the money to order meat gives or buy train tickets. Suppose if the 1.5 billion WhatsApp consumers start sending money to relatives in non-eu countries employing a money Facebook controls and fees Facebook allows. That could push away numerous unsavory services that charge high-pitched costs. It could also consolidate even more unaccountable world-wide superpower in Facebook.

The ultimate unification of these platforms under the mothership, Facebook, could effectively block any governmental is trying to separate Instagram and WhatsApp from the company. It might take times for the European Union or the United States government to muster the legal foot and political will to break up Facebook. By that time Zuckerberg could allege that this new, unified work has shared its back-end data and core parts for too long. There would be nothing distinct to separate. Plus, Zuckerberg could argue that encrypted private contents protect users better than the only other major contender in the world, WeChat.

In the coming combat against WeChat, Facebook can use its pledge to protect private letters from snooping each country to his advantage. TenCent, the company that offers WeChat, is very close to the government of the People’s Republic of China and WeChat consumers assume their communication is subject to country surveillance. Facebook might collaborate with merciless dictatorials like Rodrigo Duterte in the Philippines, but it’s still not yet as dangerous as WeChat. That’s something, I guess. And it might be enough to ensure tyranny for many years to come.

For too long, we have taken Mark Zuckerberg at his term. Too many times he has betrayed us. Let’s not fall for it again. This move is not about protecting you. It’s about overcoming other companies and consolidating world-wide power.

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

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