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Famous analyst: Zuckerberg open letter and Facebook transformation

via:博客园     time:2019/3/18 14:34:38     readed:178

[Abstract] Zuckerberg's open letter shows the world the will and attitude of Facebook transformation. In this open letter, he described a “social network vision of privacy”. What do you think of this change? Some people sneered at it, and some people are waiting. According to well-known analyst Ben Thompson, both views misunderstand the meaning behind the letter. He believes that this change in Facebook has not shaken the core of Facebook, and it makes sense for both users and Facebook, but it will have an impact on regulation and competitors. The original title of the article <;Facebook & rsquo;s Privacy Cake”.


Mark · Mark Zuckerberg recently released an open letter on the future of Facebook, "The Social Networking Vision for Privacy."

The most striking thing is that people have two very different reactions. In my opinion, they made the same mistake. A group of people did not take Zuckerberg seriously:

Mark · Zuckerberg said today: “I believe we should be committed to building a world where people can talk privately and live freely, knowing that their information will only be seen by the people they want to see. & rdquo; How long can he believe this view? One hour? one day?

Others are taking Zuckerberg too seriously:

I am not a stock market expert, but in the case of Mark · Zuckerberg said that he plans to turn the company into a completely untested new business model, Facebook's stock is almost inactive, a fact that seems strange to me.

In fact, this transformation is very meaningful to Facebook, so Zuckerberg’s announcement is quite credible: it’s a privacy cake that Facebook can and can eat.

Social map

Zuckerberg first described two distinct social networks:

For the past 15 years, Facebook and Instagram have helped people connect with friends and communities on digital city squares. But people are also increasingly hoping to make personal connections in the digital space equivalent to the living room.

When thinking about the future of the Internet, I think a communication platform that focuses on privacy will become more important than today's open platform.

Privacy gives people the freedom to do their own, and the opportunity to build more natural connections, which is why we build social networks.

Today, we have seen that private information, short Stories and small-scale group chat are the fastest growing forms of online communication.

there are many reasons. Many people like to talk one-on-one, or just talk to a few friends. People are more cautious about what they share is permanently recorded.

We all hope that we can communicate in a safe and secure manner and complete things like payment.

Public social networks will continue to play a very important role in people's lives —— connect with people you know, discover new friends, ideas and content, and give people a broader say.

People find this valuable every day, and there are still many useful services that can be built on them.

But now, as people increasingly want private interactions, there is a platform for building simpler, primary privacy concerns.

In 2013, when I wrote The Social/Communications Map, I analyzed the ideas of different types of social networks:


Remember, this picture was drawn in 2013, but there are still some points worth mentioning:

First, the dimensions perceived by these users, not the dimensions of technical implementation; at that time, the existence of tweets was considered to be short-lived; now, they are more persistent, causing people to search for old tweets or delete them.

The success of Instagram Stories further underscores that Twitter and Instagram should probably be on the “permanent” side of the existence dimension. Instagram Stories existed much later than Instagram's normal posts, and Twitter posts are gradually replacing blogs.

I pointed out in the article that Line represents multiple chat networks, including WeChat and WhatsApp. Obviously, I should give further examples of these two networks.

However, the most important thing is to pay attention to the relative position of Facebook and Snapchat.

Facebook and Snapchat

Perhaps the most important moment in Facebook history is the introduction of a News Feed that transforms it from a private space to a public space on a social/communication map.

Again, it needs to be clear again that this map is about user perception, not technical implementation. This is a perfect example: the data on Facebook is open to everyone on your network from day one.

What News Feed does, however, is to change Facebook's data from a passive sharing model to an active sharing model: you don't need to refresh your friends' Facebook profiles one by one, but Facebook pushes their updates directly to you.

This caused a strong rebound among users, who not only complained online, but also organized a rally; however, in the end, people were very happy with the News Feed. And, as Facebook embraces mobile devices, News Feeds are great for advertising.

Still, this shift has exposed a weakness in Facebook products: there is no way for users to be real and to communicate in a private, short-lived manner. This is a prerequisite for the existence of Snapchat, which I described in the article "Facebook, Phone and Phone Book":

It is becoming increasingly clear that there are two types of social applications: one is a phone book and the other is a phone.

The phone book is very valuable: it connects you to other people, whether they are your personal friends, acquaintances or business partners.

However, the value of the social directory is even further: it allows for the creation of temporary groups for an event or network, and it will constantly update your status to everyone, whether you know or want to know.

Even when you feel a little bored, provide you with an unlimited amount of professionally produced entertainment content.

On the other hand, the phone is private: it is the way you communicate with the person you are interested in.

Admittedly, there will be a variety of telemarketing situations, but they are too annoying and often overlooked.

The phone is concerned with the ongoing conversation, a conversation that disappears the moment you hang up.

In the United States, the phone book is Facebook and the phone is Snapchat. In Taiwan, the phone book is Facebook and the phone is Line.

Japan and Thailand are the same, but the former is going to add Twitter. In China, WeChat handles everything. In South Korea, Kakao is a phone.

For most people in other parts of the world, the phone is WhatsApp, but for anything other than China, the phone book is Facebook.

There is no doubt that the phone book is more valuable: it can better collect data and advertise.

However, Snapchat threatened to use Stories to break through the phone world and into the phone book domain —— this product brought Snapchat from private space to public space.

To this end, it is worth mentioning that Facebook finally used Stories to launch a defense against Snapchat.

I wrote in the article "Boldly Copying":

Instagram and Facebook are smart enough to know that Instagram's Stories won't replace Snapchat's position in the user's life.

However, what Instagram's Stories can do is to eliminate the motives of hundreds of millions of Instagram users trying to use Snapchat.

That's the truth: Snap retains its position as the core of the youth's 1-to-1 communication, but because of the smart use of Instagram's network, people suddenly become unresponsive when dealing with the core missions of Snapchat's core chat cases. It is too possible to try to use this service.

However, for the same reason, just because Facebook limits the growth of Snapchat does not mean that Snapchat's core insight into the desire for intimate, short-term communication is wrong. Zuckerberg’s open letter is basically a reason for the existence of Snapchat.

In other words, although Instagram Stories built a wall around Snapchat by copying the secondary features of Snapchat, this “social network vision of privacy” is clearly an attempt to build the Snapchat core.

Zuckerberg's vision

Take a look at Zuckerberg's overview:

Private interaction


Reduce permanent



Secure data storage

The first three are all about creating a one-to-one private short-term communication space; the key is that they all have nothing to do with Facebook's core feed products.

Facebook will continue to exist as always, and Instagram will do the same, including all existing data collection and ad targeting systems.

“The privacy of the social network vision” is a supplement to Facebook's current product, not a replacement. This is the mistake made by those who take Zuckerberg too seriously.

As for those who didn't take Zuckerberg seriously, why didn't Facebook want to move in this direction? There are several benefits to doing this:

First of all, this is a very valuable space, which is the main reason why Snapchat is successful. People want a place to communicate freely without worrying about being snooped or being recorded.

Second, to some extent, the rise of a one-to-one social network is unstoppable, and for Facebook, it happens to be the best in its products.

This not only keeps Facebook's ability to advertise on a privacy-centric platform —— companies can use Facebook data to advertise in their information products —— also blocks potential competitors.

Third, as Zuckerberg’s response to this letter, privacy-centric services have enormous benefits in terms of public relations.

Although Facebook has not changed its core services or data collection policies, it is believed that the company is undergoing transformation, and the only argument is whether to believe it.

However, perhaps the most striking thing is the extent to which this move has locked Facebook's competitive position. As I mentioned above, Snapchat has shown that Facebook is vulnerable in the field of private ephemeral communication, but soon this situation will no longer exist.

In addition, considering Facebook's focus on end-to-end encryption, the company even makes it harder to develop, even if it is Snapchat, it is not completely end-to-end encrypted (picture is, text information is not).

Facebook voluntarily gives up data in the information and limits the time it takes to retain metadata. There is also a more important benefit (end-to-end encryption is real, Facebook will not be able to see encrypted messages); as Zuckerberg is on According to the line magazine:

Of course, the ad targeting system can benefit from getting as much content or signal as possible. You know, I am more optimistic about this, for several reasons.

One reason is that we don't really use the content of the information to target ads. So creating a system that delivers end-to-end encryption does not cause too much damage to Facebook ads.

Although I am optimistic that the system we build can provide most of the value with a small amount of data, keeping the metadata for a shorter period of time will have some impact.

Why does Facebook provide most of the value? Because it is still Facebook! It still has Facebook's core app, Instagram, and has been buttons that are scattered across the web, and these won't disappear with the release of this announcement.

It provides a privacy-centric messaging service in a way that no potential challenger can afford. It turns out that privacy is a competitive advantage for Facebook, not what Facebook critics think is “great stick”.

Security and interoperability

The last few items listed by Zuckerberg are interesting:

Security: End-to-end encryption brings real trade-offs. One obvious problem is law enforcement: Apple has had a conflict with the FBI in terms of mobile security. End-to-end encryption will make this problem even more challenging. Because it is very simple, it will be unbreakable after implementation.

Another problem is the error message: For now, all the problems caused by the error message on Facebook are at least traceable; if the information is encrypted, this is not the case, which is already a problem on WhatsApp in India. It is.

People can of course argue that in the process of privacy protection, Facebook is getting rid of the impact of the wrong information.

To be sure, Facebook is confident that it can leverage its ability to analyze metadata to stop malicious people. For Facebook, the same type of audience analysis can be ported to ads, which is a benefit for Facebook.

Interoperability: This is perhaps the most suspicious feature, although balancing multiple messaging applications is certainly frustrating, but due to the existence of alternative software such as Messages, Line, Kakao, integrating Facebook-enabled messaging services, Completely solve this problem.

In addition, even if Facebook has both a phone (via WhatsApp) and a phone book (via Facebook and Instagram), how big is consumer demand for integration?

To be sure, there is a business argument here: Facebook has unified most of the advertising infrastructure behind its services, and unified messaging, to a certain extent, Facebook wants to build a messaging-based business platform, It is also the natural next step.

There is also a regulatory argument: although it's hard to say that Facebook violates antitrust laws, if it's really certain, the remedy is obvious —— split Instagram and WhatsApp out.

If they are fully integrated with Facebook, it will be more difficult not only for advertising but also for users.

Privacy moat

Finally, Zuckerberg's article summarizes three points:

Don't expect Facebook to go against your own interests.

Facebook is doing something that is good for its own development, which is not a bad thing for end users. Facebook can make more user-friendly changes, such as end-to-end encryption, which is perfectly reasonable, even if it promotes its own interests.

Related to this, and most importantly, we need to pay more attention to the anti-competitive trade-offs inherent in absolutistic privacy strategies. Facebook is doing what its most intense critics want to do, and thus has increased its competitive position.

Last year, I mentioned in "Open, Closed, and Privacy" (translation link):

If emphasis on privacy and non-disclosure of data is a priority, the status of the existing platform will become stronger and stronger.

Moreover, if these platforms become more entrenched, then more valuable regulation may be to ensure an equal playing field on these platforms. But the reality is that emphasizing privacy will only increase the walls of the garden.

There is still a lack of more discussion on this. The reality is that protecting privacy is the only user-friendly way. In other words, this is the only way to expand in a demand-driven world.

But it also imposes restrictions on interoperability and puts an excessive burden on potential challengers.

Regulators need to be more aware of this, either by choosing another way to protect privacy, or by supervising the data platform, at least on the competition side of the platform, or even more stringently.

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