Facebook uses F8 privacy livestream to gather data on its users

Mark Zuckerberg asked us to believe in their commitment to privacy, while continuing to gather data on us.
Image: screenshot: rachel kraus / mashable

Haven’t you heard? Facebook is all about privacy now. At least that’s what Mark Zuckerberg said at Facebook’s developer conference, F8, on Tuesday. 

Of course, Facebook used the livestream of Zuckerberg’s talk to ask users whether they thought Facebook “cares about its users” and is good for the world. 

Because what better time to get more data about Facebook users’ thoughts and feelings than during a chat about how dedicated Facebook is to privacy.

Mark really hoping your answer to this question is “ya.”

Image: screenshot: rachel kraus / mashable

In the poll box, there isn’t a disclosure that tells you Facebook friends will be be able to see whether you took the poll. Yet, after you take the poll, the prompt box shows which of your friends have also taken the poll. It assures us that “poll results are hidden.” But still, what a private interaction! 

The poll wasn’t the only place for a privacy face palm moment. During the livestream, a friend sent me a text message: “Are you watching F8? Your avatar appeared on my screen.” Yep, Facebook used its privacy-focused keynote to broadcast that users were watching the stream, without their knowledge. I could see which friends of mine were watching, too.

So private.

Image: screenshot: rachel kraus/mashable

Look, it’s fun to call out Facebook for its minor hypocrisies and fumbles. Still, the existence of the poll shows why Facebook’s privacy claims ring hollow. It is happy to champion the issue of privacy — but is this just a PR stunt? The poll certainly displays Facebook’s full knowledge that the new privacy direction has a public image upside. 

“I know that we don’t exactly have the strongest reputation on privacy right now, to put it lightly,” Zuckerberg joked awkwardly during his talk. 

Facebook displayed who else took the poll, without saying it was going to do so.

Image: screenshot: rachel kraus / mashable

Facebook wants to continue gathering data about its users, while assuring us that it is privacy-oriented and responsible enough to handle that data in a way that will protect us. That’s not a leap of faith that Facebook has earned — something that users *just might * reflect in their poll answers.

Read more: https://mashable.com/article/facebook-reputation-poll-facebook-f8-2019/

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