From the pub to the living room: Facebook's Nicola Mendelsohn on the company's shift to privacy

Lara O'Reilly
Executive Producer

Earlier this year, following a run of data-related scandals, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg set out his vision that the company was to undergo a shift to privacy.

The future is private,” Zuckerberg said at Facebook’s developer conference in the spring

Speaking on the Global Change Agents with Lianna Brinded show, Facebook’s most senior executive outside the US — Nicola Mendelsohn, vice president for EMEA — said the clues towards this shift had already been there, prior to that particular announcement.

Watch the full Nicola Mendelsohn Global Change Agents interview here

“The rise of stories — people don’t want stuff hanging round — some they do — in quite the same way,” Mendelsohn said. “They’re happy to post, add in the filters, the stickers, the GIFs, the et cetera — and then it’s gone within 24 hours.”

She said the shift also accounts for “the incredible rise we’ve seen in messaging” across its WhatsApp and Messenger services.

Mendelsohn, a Brit who is based in the UK, has a very British analogy for the way social media use has repositioned in recent years.

“I think if I look back on the 15 years of Facebook, it was very much broadcast-out. It was very much...sort of being down the pub, where you’d go in and everybody would hear your news and all the accidentally-overhead things,” Mendelsohn said.

“But you also always needed that time when you could go back in your house and just talk on-on-one, or one-on-two — that was also important.

“And with Facebook, we’d very much concentrated on that pub, on that much more public space, and now we’re spending a bit more time concentrating on things in the living room.”

Mendelsohn said Facebook would be working with “informed experts, regulators” and other people around the world as it adapts to focus more of its efforts on private communication.

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