Mark Zuckerberg: "I believe very strongly in trying to decentralize and put power in individuals' hands"

During Facebook's Q4 2018 earnings call today, CEO Mark Zuckerberg had the following to say: "I believe very strongly in trying to decentralize and put power in individuals' hands." The full exchange with RBC Capital Markets' Mark Mahaney is below...

Mark Mahaney of RBC Capital Markets:

Mark, I have a question on data privacy as it relates to your 2019 goal of progressing major social issues. This is a topic that's as important for the Internet ecosystems as a whole and not just Facebook, and it appears that regulators are struggling to come up with comprehensive reform that is appropriate for all stakeholders involved. Facebook has invested a lot to improve data privacy, transparency and trust in the platform over the last year, but I wanted to hear your thoughts on the following. In your Facebook post at the end of 2018, you a question of whether we do centralized authority to encryption or other means to put more power into the people's hands and that you put in to discuss these topics in public domains. As the accumulation of data and micro targeting increases, so can the value of individual's data. You see a future where individuals are compensated for inventing their data to Facebook and other tech companies? Will that be in the form of crypto to decentralize the blockchain or any method like a traffic acquisition costs? I know we're in early days and due to scalability and consumer adoption roadblocks, but this is impossible yet. But do you believe these technologies are real existential risk or perhaps even a solution to the current data privacy trust and control issues on the Internet?

Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook Founder, Chairman and CEO:

This is a really important question and one we are spending a lot of time on broadly thinking about. I do generally -- I believe very strongly in trying to decentralize and put power in individuals' hands. That's always been the first part of the mission of Facebook is giving people the power to share, to connect, to come together and build communities. But to give people the power has always been the primary and first thing that we have focused on. And one of the ways that we're talking about decentralization is to independent encryption and messaging and do think that there is a very broad sense as you're saying that -- and greater awareness that having data stored for long periods of time with companies cannot only be an asset that can help provide better services but can also be a liability in that there could be breaches or the data can be used in ways that weren't intended. And I think people broadly are starting to get that more, which is why things like encryption are so attractive to people and features are around the (inaudible) or keeping data less permanently or becoming increasingly important. So when you think about the types of products that we're building on messaging where encryption is going to play a huge strong, sharing with your friends for Stories, which is ephemeral, is the main thing that's growing. I, mean these are really privacy-first products. And I think that that's kind of the most important way that we're thinking about this whole space overall. In fact, this is going to become increasingly important, not just from the perspective on what is -- the privacy policy say, but how it is deeply designed into the products that we're building. And these are the products that are growing the quickest, and these are differentiating parts of why they work and why people prefer them as opposed to other services. In terms of regulation over all, I think that that's going to be very important. We -- the basic principles behind GDPR in Europe, I think, were very important. And I think having that codified around the world will be a very positive step, and we're working with folks to enable that. But I think that, that would be good for people everywhere to make sure that basically every person who uses an Internet service has the same protections no matter where they live.