Apr 18, 2014 10:34 AM EDT
Mark Zuckerberg Interviews With NY Times About Facebook's Future
Jesse Eisenberg was so good in "The Social Network" you sometimes wish he was Mark Zuckerberg and the seemingly less intimidating (but probably more intimidating if you ever got to know him that way), real-life Zuckerberg was someone else. The latter version interviewed with the NY Times recently about the never-ending subject of Facebook's future.
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Since changing the world with its debut just over a decade ago, Facebook hasn't really changed that much after some tinkering in the early years. Amid recent reports that the social media site is losing its younger demographic in addition to articles titled "Facebook Isn't Cool," Zuckerberg and crew have undoubtedly felt pressure to add something more transformative to their product than the usual interface changes. To their credit, they've done a few semi-significant things, like packaging world news in between status updates and photo sharing, and a few significant things, such as their much publicized acquisition of WhatsApp.
In his interview, Zuckerberg first spoke (or, rather, was asked) about the most recent Facebook-related news, which is its transition to mobile. Regarding the requirement that chat must now be downloaded separately on one's smart phone, Zuckerberg emphasized the importance of catering to the unique needs of the mobile world.
"In mobile there's a big premium on creating single-purpose first-class experiences," he said. "So what we're doing with Creative Labs is basically unbundling the big blue app."
An interesting point made by Farhad Manjoo, the interviewer, and confirmed by Zuckerberg occured when Manjoo wondered why Facebook didn't invent WhatsApp, which is basically a better version of its own messenger service. Zuckerberg admitted the mobile messenger world was bigger than anyone among his inner circle anticipated. Like any head of an empire, however, he quickly spun his admission into a positive: Facebook messenger transmits 10 billion messages per day, he noted.
The most interesting point made by Zuckerberg related to the distinction between private and anonymous messaging systems like Snapchat. After saying "private communication is a bigger space than people realize," he pointed out the flaws of anonymous communication.
"Anonymity is different," he said. "I'm not going to say it can't work, because I think that is too extreme. But I tend to think some of these interactions are better rooted in some sense of building relationships. There are different forms of identity you can use to form a relationship. You can use your real identity, or you can use phone numbers for something like WhatsApp, and pseudonyms for something like Instagram. But in any of those you're not just sharing and consuming content, you are also building relationships with people and building an understanding of people. That's core to how we think about the world. So anonymity is not the first thing that we'll go do."