Touting Facebook's new social network redesign, Mark Zuckerberg talked up digital ‘living rooms’ where people can have more revealing, intimate conversations.

MarketWatch writer Quentin Fottrell is more than a bit suspicious, and so am I. Please consider Facebook wants you to have more meaningful conversations, but that means giving up more valuable data.

Standing in front of a giant screen with the words, “The future is private,” Zuckerberg said. However, privacy advocates and communications experts are skeptical about the site’s redesign. While they agree that it’s in Facebook’s best interests to improve privacy, they also say that users won’t be distracted by Facebook’s logo and see the platform as more integrated into their desktop, while online groups will encourage them to reveal even more personal beliefs and details from their lives.

“There’s something more at work here,” says Adam Levin, founder of Scottsdale, Ariz.-based CyberScout, a global data and identity protection company. “By creating groups we will be doing Facebook’s work for it. The more people who come together to talk about their interests — whether they’re political, financial or religious — the more data Facebook can collect. There’s nothing more delicious for Facebook than having people come into groups and talk.”

Digital Living Room

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Digital Living Room Cameras

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People may be more likely to reveal illnesses, mental-health issues or even quirky or embarrassing hobbies, she said. This could be anything from men who like Mattel Barbie dolls and My Little Pony to Donald Trump supporters living in liberal enclaves that would be otherwise reluctant to share their political views, Kovacs North said. “Anything you think is private is public, and anything you think is temporary is permanent. Facebook aggregates data for advertisers, but other people can simply take a screenshot,” she added.

Zuckerberg disagrees of course.

I have little use for Facebook. I was very concerned about privacy issues long before Facebook privacy issues became the talk of the town, and rightly so.

It's All About You

As long as you are comfortable sharing your personal data with advertisers, whether or not Zuckerberg proclaims he won't, then who am I to disagree?

Otherwise Adam Levin hits the nail on the head:

We’re about to enter the most hotly contested presidential election in modern history. Imagine the data Facebook can acquire from group chats. They give Facebook an opportunity to virtually eavesdrop. Mark Zuckerberg wants you to think that it’s all about you. And it is. But not exactly in the way that you think.”

Mike "Mish" Shedlock

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