Mark Zuckerberg: Snapchat creates a new kind of space to communicate

Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg called Snapchat a “super interesting privacy phenomenon,” in a discussion at Stanford University. The talk, covered extensively by TechCrunch, touched on various topics, including NSA surveillance and the lack of venture capital funding for multi-billion-dollar public projects. The introduction of privacy and disposability into social networking is an evolutionary step that Facebook is working to keep pace with, Zuckerberg said. “That’s a big kind of innovation that we’re going to keep pushing on and keep trying to do more on,” he said.

When it comes to ensuring privacy of your user base, does Facebook really need to work that hard in order to ‘innovate’?  Sure you need to keep one step ahead of hackers, but privacy issues should really have been addressed from day one. Do you believe Facebook had our backs back then? If we accept the premise, that Facebook users are the product and not the customer – and given Facebook’s past track record on the issue, it seems its reaction to privacy is appeasement driven. Forgive my skepticism, but was it not alleged in a lawsuit that the tech firm spied on private messages between users and provided that data to third-party advertisers and marketers? Their interest in the private messaging space is not going away.

It was only a matter of time when the Stanford talk, steered towards Snapchat and privacy. Facebook of course, tried unsuccessfully to acquire the startup in a deal worth $1billion. Here is what Zuckerberg had to say:

“I think Snapchat is a super interesting privacy phenomenon because it creates a new kind of space to communicate which makes it so that things that people previously would not have been able to share, you now feel like you have place to do so. And I think that’s really important and that’s a big kind of innovation that we’re going to keep pushing on and keep trying to do more on and I think a lot of other companies will, too.”

Zuckerberg did not directly acknowledge the fact that Facebook users feel less comfortable sharing on Facebook  or that teens are abandoning the platform since the social network recently made most users searchable on the site. He did say that Facebook will keep working on allowing people to communicate in a private space, which probably means that they will shrug off the failure of Snapchat clone killer- Poke and come up with future “innovations” where it is more about what they can leverage as a company and less about you. Go on Facebook, prove me wrong.

Image credit: L.A. Cicero via Stanford