Facebook’s Future Architecture Reloaded
The move to walled gardens and privacy architectures is in view.
We love to talk about Facebook in 2019. To delete or not to delete? However with Facebook’s F8 conference, we actually have a lot of new topics to talk about.
F8 Keynote Summary by the Verge
Even with the soul of Facebook’s internal culture leaving over “artistic differences” with Mark Zuckerberg, life and business goes on.
The scandals are over (or at least the worst of them), the privacy pivot is set, it’s the day after tomorrow. Shareholders are embracing Facebook again as investors are driving up its value after beating Google in advertising growth in early 2019.
Your Facebook data is still creepy as hell, but nobody really cares. The user exodus wasn’t as bad as it could have been. Facebook is basically more addictive and useful than its bad PR hurt our sense of online privacy protection, which in 2019 has all but disappeared.
Facebook’s Pivot to Encrypted Chat and a Privacy Architecture
Facebook’s pivot to encrypted chat is also about hitting the refresh button on our private data and how Facebook will monetize how we make new friends.
Its redesign is in this light a bit deceptive. Our smartphones have officially made it a pain to talk to one another, and it’s all by design. We are being led and words like “privacy” and “surveillance” aren’t what we think they mean.
Apple raked in over $31 billion thanks to iPhone sales, compared to $37.6 billion in 2018. Google’s stock was down in Q1 earnings with Advertising slowing, but that’s not the case for Facebook. Facebook’s pivot to privacy could mean Ads are coming into our chats and things like stablecoins and payments will come to WhatsApp. Facebook is ready to hack your dating less-existent social life too. BigTech can create a demand and then solve it while, you know, making $ Billions.
Do you have a Secret Crush on a Facebook Friend?
Facebook’s social graph is aging and full of long-lost acquaintances and hometown friends you don’t care much about seeing in the News Feed any more. But Facebook is now testing a pivot away from its core identity of connecting you with existing friends so it can revitalize the social graph and keep people coming back.
Facebook will be monetizing chat, dating and peer-to-peer transfers in the coming years in ways that makes advertising in micro video stories seem just like one feature.
- Developing relationships with people they didn’t already know is very different from the core use case of Facebook
- In this way, CHAT-DATING-P2P play for Facebook is not just immersive, it’s how it rejuvenates its declining value to the average global monthly active user.
Advertising & Privacy Aren’t Really Compatible — or Are They?
Mark Zuckerberg doesn’t just want to turn Messenger, WhatsApp, and Instagram into the megalodon of secure communications, he wants to make you think it’s a great thing for you, this centralization of all of its apps.
Chris Cox left Facebook in March after 13 years at the company. When an exodus of key executives and founders occurs at BigTech companies, it means something unethical is likely happening. Facebook could face huge fines over its data use, in theory trillions of dollars. It could make the fines Alphabet has faced in recent years look small in comparison.
- Lawmakers call for Zuckerberg to be held accountable for Facebook’s privacy fumbles.
- It’s not clear if BigTech will face legal repercussions for either their data practices or duopoly infractions in advertising with anti-trust violations regarding fair competition. Repercussions thus far seem to have come mostly from Europe.
The Matrix is Coming
Mark Zuckerberg has discovered privacy and decided to meld his three dragons (Messenger, WhatsApp, and Instagram) to form the next attention economy Matrix.
What Apple is doing with subscriptions and Facebook is doing with encrypted Chat — who knew? — but it’s the beginning of the Matrix. This could be the point where human technology’s designs to “capture” attention become so profitable, all the safe guards are basically left off. This is not a privacy issue, it goes so far beyond that.
Mark’s vision for privacy-focused social networking takes no responsibility for being a media company where Ads have created smart phone addiction through apps. The link between time in apps and mental health issues is well documented, but the healthcare costs aren’t really thought of as a liability of BigTech companies.
Facebook’s Unity is another kind of Tyranny
Facebook’s business has continued to grow over the past year, as it was repeatedly faced with privacy scandals. Its unified encrypted chat could be the kind of utility that gives it another ten years of control over the future of the internet. Even if Google has YouTube, Facebook has the world.
Scott Galloway calls Mark Zuckerberg America’s second most famous broken sociopath (that) is also a business genius.
You need to be an evil genius to make the what could become the Matrix. Facebook’s emphasis on VR, AR and its huge data set could lead to that in theory one day. So how could things like an advertising business model and a pivot to privacy lead to the Matrix? For the most part I’m going to leave that to your imagination.
By raising levels of the stress-related hormone cortisol, our phone time may also be threatening our long-term health. But don’t imagine for a second that the CEOs of Apple or Facebook or Google will ever be held accountable. Technology is a man over nature and man over man story.
Silicon Valley specializes in hacking humanity for profit. In Silicon Valley, profits dominate ethics and it’s not just about harvesting your data, it’s about stealing your time. Thus “surveillance capitalism” is not about your disappearing privacy, it’s about your disappearing freedom and agency, because time matters.
Facebook’s Architecture to Retain Its Empire
The F8 conference sheds a lot of new light on product development that’s worthy to mention:
- Messages sent via Messenger will be end-to-end encrypted by default, meaning Facebook itself won’t see the contents, and the platform will be fully integrated with WhatsApp.
- Instagram is trialing a “private like counts” feature which would hide the “likes” a post attracts from viewers, but not the account owner.
- There will be more “ephemeral” ways to share content in messages — meaning there will not be a permanent record of them.
- A WhatsApp secure payment service trialed in India is to be rolled out to other countries later this year.
- The Facebook app is being redesigned to make community groups central to the news feed — and the distinctive blue branding is going. The redesign is rolling out in the US and then more widely straight away.
- Instagram posts will no longer have to start with a photo or a video. It will be possible to share content using just text, stickers or drawings, thanks to a new “create” camera mode.
- Facebook is adding a “secret crush” feature to its Facebook Dating tool.
- It will allow users to discover if they and their friends have mutual crushes on each other.
- Facebook Dating is also expanding to more than a dozen new countries — but there’s still no word on when it’s coming to the US.
Need love in the Matrix? Facebook has got you covered. Facebook Dating is also rolling out to more than a dozen new countries, the company announced at its annual F8 conference on April 30th, 2019, bringing the total up to 19 — including Vietnam, Brazil, Ecuador, Canada and Mexico, but notably not the United States.
Facebook doesn’t just want your private data, it wants to nudge you, study you and mine your social and emotional data through dating and making new friends. Welcome to the Matrix, it’s never too soon (and never too late again!) to escape this world into the “internet”.
Tim Cook won’t likely be able to fix Facebook’s privacy problem, but the Matrix will. Mark Zuckerberg isn’t sorry, he’s only too happy to imprison us for the foreseeable future, tethered to advertising based on privacy invasion. It’s so sticky, it’s worthy of being called a surveillance architecture matrix.