Preserving user trust is key to continuing the technological and societal leaps of recent history.
As a tool, data can be a powerful force for good. Developer Alliance President and CEO Bruce Gustafson said recently in his post on the California Consumer Protection Act (or CCPA):
‘Without data, advances such as AI or autonomous vehicles are impossible. Smart cities, health care, public safety, in the recent past, almost every sector has made huge strides to the betterment of society because of the insights shared data has brought to light.”
Critically however, data relies on user (consumer) trust. No company is learning this lesson quite like Facebook is.*
Last week I had the pleasure of attending Facebook’s annual F8 conference. For those unfamiliar, the conference serves dual purposes. Firstly, Facebook uses the conference to announce new products and updates to the Facebook social network platform. Secondly, it is a developer conference where workshops and networking events are held for developers who are creating products that interact with the Facebook platform. It was a pleasure to mingle with our peers and discuss with the developers in attendance their concerns for the future of the industry.
The event typically launches with a keynote from founder Mark Zuckerberg (it’s available online here). This year focused on Facebook’s efforts to build into its platform deep privacy protections for users and others across the web. Zuckerberg’s keynote began with what may become an oft quoted line: “The future is private.”
We at the Developers Alliance, as well as many other organizations, agree with this assessment. Users need to trust that their data is held and used in accordance with their wishes both inside the organization they’ve given it to, and when sharing that information with third parties if appropriate. If developers don’t maintain that trust we risk losing the resource that has fueled many of the technological and societal leaps of the last two decades. Facebook is recognizing this and taking actions to address the concerns raised about their products and services. These sweeping movements are good for the industry as a whole. We’re looking forward to seeing, and using for ourselves, many of the new privacy focused features Facebook is deploying. We hope to see many more developers and platforms follow their example in this.
*Facebook is a member of the Developers Alliance. See our Board of Directors here.