Under pressure, Zuckerberg unveils new privacy approach

Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg.
Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg.
Shutterstock
Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg.

Under pressure, Zuckerberg unveils new privacy approach

The Facebook founder says he has a new “privacy-focused vision” for the tech company.
March 7, 2019

Congressional hearings and investigations led by six separate state attorneys general can create a lot of pressure on a company. Since last year, Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg has been bearing the brunt of a nationwide effort to crack down on questionable privacy practices by Big Tech. Now, Zuckerberg says he’s taking another crack at self-regulation with a new “privacy-focused vision” for his scandal-prone company – and for social networking at large.

New York has been at the forefront of the privacy push: former state Attorney General Barbara Underwood launched an investigation of Facebook that focused on the company’s data-sharing practices with other corporations following the Cambridge Analytica controversy in March 2018. More recently, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced in February that two state agencies would probe another aspect of Facebook’s privacy features after a report surfaced that Facebook had access to users' personal data from other apps.

In a blog post on Wednesday, Zuckerberg laid out a six-pronged approach to privacy, with much of the strategy being devoted to shifting social media posts to private, end-to-end encrypted interactions, rather than the public, forum-like shared posts that were a hallmark of early Facebook.

The New York state probes are hardly at the top of the social networking giant’s list of concerns – a multibillion-dollar fine being considered by the Federal Trade Commission surely ranks higher – but Zuckerberg’s latest announcement does indicate the company is making what could be last-ditch efforts to self-regulate while actual privacy legislation in Congress lingers in the discussion stages.

For the rest of today's tech news, head over to First Read Tech.

Annie McDonough
is a tech and policy reporter at City & State.
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