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Ensuring Users Remain In Control Of Data Key Focus For Interoperability: Facebook CTO

Ensuring users remain in control of their data is a key focus area for Facebook that is working on allowing users to seamlessly connect with others across its platforms like Messenger, Instagram and WhatsApp, according to Facebook Chief Technology Officer Mike Schroepfer.

At its annual developers meet ‘F8’, Facebook had announced that it is working on bringing in interoperability across the three messaging platforms while ensuring that the communication is end-to-end encrypted.

“I want to be able to reach my friends (across these platforms) but I want to be in control (of the data)…And getting that right is the thing we are working on,” Schroepfer told PTI.

Facebook has started these discussions early so that it can engage with governments and safety experts globally on aspects like encryption and safety while the design process is on, he added.

“If there are choices to make, we can make them together. This (user data safety) is a top concern for how we’re building our products,” he emphasised.

Schroepfer said it is difficult to say by when interoperability between the messaging platforms will be available.

“When we connect them together, a WhatsApp user can send a message to a friend on Messenger. We want to assure you that protection of your data is the same as it was if you were to send a message to another WhatsApp user… getting that right is part of why this is taking time,” he explained.

The social media giant has faced flak globally for instances of data breach that affected millions of users. It has recently outlined its vision of building a “privacy-focussed” social platform to ensure that conversations stay private, and that user data is secure across its products like Messenger, WhatsApp and Instagram.

The company had said this vision is based on six principles – private interactions, encryption, reducing permanence, safety, interoperability and secure data storage – and would be applicable across features like private messaging, groups, payments, and even location sharing.

The US-based company is re-building the architecture of ‘Messenger’ from the ground up to be faster and lighter and it will begin to roll out later this year.

It is also working on rolling out payments feature on WhatsApp – currently being tested in India with about one million users – in some other countries by the end of the year.―Business Standard

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