At the beginning of the year, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg promised that he would hold public talks as a part of 2019 resolution which aims at solving issues in the tech world.
Taking this forward, Zuckerberg had a 100-minute conversation with Harvard professor Jonathan Zittrain where he tried to explain how Facebook is all about protecting the privacy of its users.
He did admit that Facebook’s status as an “innovator in privacy” is “certainly not the mainstream view” — which is quite frankly an understatement considering its history of scandals and data leak.
“Thinking about Facebook as an innovator in privacy is certainly not the mainstream view,” said Zuckerberg in the taped conversation, which was released publicly on Wednesday.
Zuckerberg argued that Facebook, which has a business model based on siphoning user data, is actually making progress in providing security and privacy to them.
“When we talk about privacy, I think a lot of the questions are often about privacy policies and legal or policy type things,” he continued further.
“But I actually think there is another element of this that’s really fundamental, which is that people want tools that give them new contexts to communicate and that’s also fundamentally about giving people power through privacy, not just not violating privacy.”
It seems like Zuckerberg chose to overlook the fact that Facebook not only gathers information on its users but also their contacts who never consented to hand over their data — through shadow profiling methods.
On other occasions, the company chose to conduct data harvesting activities through its Onavo app which posed as a VPN. It even went to the extent of paying teenagers to install Onavo-like app to harvest their data.
One of the biggest Facebook controversies to date, the Cambridge Analytica scandal, happened just because the social media giant allowed app makers to harvest millions of users’ data without their knowledge or consent.
But Zuckerberg defended the “success” Facebook has achieved by saying:
“All of the success that Facebook has had, this is kind of a counterintuitive thing, has been because we’ve given people new private or semi-private ways to communicate things that they wouldn’t have had before.”
However, claiming such success as “counterintuitive” doesn’t deny the fact that Facebook is successful only because it sells a massive amount of online ads which comes at the cost of user privacy.