During Facebook’s Q4 2018 earnings call yesterday, CEO Mark Zuckerberg mentioned the following: “I believe very strongly in trying to decentralize and put power in individuals’ hands.”
With all the recent hiring of blockchain talent for Facebook, it’s not surprising to hear that Mark has a positive view of Bitcoin, cryptocurrency, and blockchain technology.
During the earnings call:
Mark Mahaney of RBC Capital Markets asked Mark:
Mark, I have a question on data privacy as it relates to your 2019 goal of progressing major social issues. This is a topic that’s as important for the Internet ecosystems as a whole and not just Facebook, and it appears that regulators are struggling to come up with comprehensive reform that is appropriate for all stakeholders involved.
Facebook has invested a lot to improve data privacy, transparency and trust in the platform over the last year, but I wanted to hear your thoughts on the following. In your Facebook post at the end of 2018, you a question of whether we do centralized authority to encryption or other means to put more power into the people’s hands and that you put in to discuss these topics in public domains. As the accumulation of data and micro targeting increases, so can the value of individual’s data.
You see a future where individuals are compensated for inventing their data to Facebook and other tech companies? Will that be in the form of crypto to decentralize the blockchain or any method like a traffic acquisition costs? I know we’re in the early days and due to scalability and consumer adoption roadblocks, but this is impossible yet.
But do you believe these technologies are real existential risk or perhaps even a solution to the current data privacy trust and control issues on the Internet?
Mark gave a detailed response with the following answer:
This is a really important question and one we are spending a lot of time on broadly thinking about. I do generally — I believe very strongly in trying to decentralize and put power in individuals’ hands.
That’s always been the first part of the mission of Facebook is giving people the power to share, to connect, to come together and build communities. But to give people the power has always been the primary and first thing that we have focused on. And one of the ways that we’re talking about decentralization is to independent encryption and messaging and do think that there is a very broad sense as you’re saying that — and greater awareness that having data stored for long periods of time with companies cannot only be an asset that can help provide better services but can also be a liability in that there could be breaches or the data can be used in ways that weren’t intended.
And I think people broadly are starting to get that more, which is why things like encryption are so attractive to people and features are around the (inaudible) or keeping data less permanently or becoming increasingly important. So when you think about the types of products that we’re building on messaging where encryption is going to play a huge strong, sharing with your friends for Stories, which is ephemeral, is the main thing that’s growing.
In terms of regulation overall, I think that that’s going to be very important. We — the basic principles behind GDPR in Europe, I think, were very important. And I think having that codified around the world will be a very positive step, and we’re working with folks to enable that. But I think that, that would be good for people everywhere to make sure that basically every person who uses an Internet service has the same protections no matter where they live.
Still too early to know
It’s still too early to know what are Facebook’s plans for creating their own blockchain solution, but most rumors are saying that it has to do with either Whatsapp or some sort of Facebook payment processing. The future is still looking bright and it seems like Mark has a lot of plans moving forward.