The same old same old? On Facebook, privacy and owning mobile apps

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said at the company’s f8 developers conference Wednesday that the company had no “big new product announcement or new direction” to announce — besides, as our own Dan Nakaso reported, a way to link between apps, plus the ability to log in anonymously via Facebook to test drive apps, and choose what kind of information to share with those apps.

But the announcements bring up some interesting questions about the company’s motivations, besides the obvious. Yes, it’s getting some credit for seeming more concerned about privacy; it’s addressing complaints about people’s personal information being scooped up by a bunch of third-party apps. So, you know, don’t trust those little guys. Log in with and trust the big guy (Facebook, in case you hadn’t guessed), the one who already knows what you did last summer, what you ate yesterday, and where you’re going on vacation next week.

So if the new anonymous tools get people to feel more secure about test-driving (and using) apps, then that’s even more information for Facebook’s trove. As Forbes’ Kashmir Hill points out, “Facebook is moving one step closer to becoming your all-access pass to the Internet.”

Or — with its new way of linking among apps — could it be that Facebook is actually moving closer to becoming “the Google of mobile apps”? That’s what Leo Mirani writes for Quartz: “Facebook’s moves point to its ambition to become the glue that holds the mobile internet together the same way Google is the glue that holds the web together.”

So perhaps its announcements didn’t seem so flashy, but “no new direction” could just as well mean Facebook is simply continuing on its road to own the world.


Photo: Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg delivers the opening keynote at the Facebook f8 conference on April 30, 2014 in San Francisco. (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)


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