Facebook shifts to 'privacy-focused' network from open sharing

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Facebook Co-founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg posted a March 6 note on the social networking site, outlining initiatives the company plans to take to build a platform centered on privacy.

Mr. Zuckerberg's note comes after the social networking platform's faces criticism for its data sharing practices, such as obtaining personal data from popular health and fitness apps without consent, as well as allegedly leaking health information of members in various private and public Facebook groups.

"I understand that many people don't think Facebook can or would even want to build this kind of privacy-focused platform — because frankly we don't currently have a strong reputation for building privacy protective services, and we've historically focused on tools for more open sharing," Mr. Zuckerberg wrote.

Recognizing an increasing desire for private interactions, Facebook sees an opportunity to prioritize security on the social platform, Mr. Zuckerberg said. To do this, he outlined six initiatives the company will build the new platform on:

1. Private interactions
2. Encryption
3. Reducing permanence
4. Safety
5. Interoperability
6. Secure data storage

Facebook has previously highlighted its groups function, which allows users to converse in public or private forums tailored to specific interests. Some health researchers have expressed concern about how this function could lead to an increased spread of false information through private groups like "Stop Mandatory Vaccination," which has more than 150,000 members and is run by an individual with no medical training, NBC News reports.

Mr. Zuckerberg noted that the shift to the privacy-focused platform is still in the early stages, and the company plans to work with experts, advocates and the government, among others, as the project unfolds.

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