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Facebook’s Crypto Division Might Build a Blockchain Identity System: Mark Zuckerberg

Last Updated March 4, 2021 2:53 PM
Mark Emem
Last Updated March 4, 2021 2:53 PM

Weighed down by countless accusations of user-data violations, crypto-curious Facebook has signaled that it could turn to blockchain technology for some tasks.

In a video  discussion, Facebook’s CEO Mark Zuckerberg told Harvard Law professor Jonathan Zittrain, that the social media giant could integrate blockchain technology into the platform’s login and data sharing systems.

This would allow its billions of users to enforce control on the apps that access their data, profiles, and pages. Additionally, the technology would empower users with regards to the amount of data they share.

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According to Zuckerberg, blockchain technology could be used also assist Facebook in getting rid of intermediaries. This would allow developers to build applications and features without having to worry about losing access if they violated third-party policy:

“For developers, one of the things that is really troubling about working with our system, or Google’s system for that matter, or having to deliver services through Apple’s App Store is that you don’t want to have an intermediary between serving the people who are using your service and you. Where someone can just say hey, we as a developer have to follow your policy and if we don’t, then you can cut off access to the people we are serving. That’s kind of a difficult and troubling position to be in.”

Zuckerberg seemed to be alluding to the social media firm’s woes in the hands of tech giant Apple. Recently, the iPhone maker revoked Facebook’s Enterprise Certification , effectively banning the social media giant’s Research app from the App Store.

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In reaching the decision, Apple argued that Facebook had violated one of its policies. According to Apple, the app was only supposed to be used internally and was not meant for general users. The iPhone maker, however, later reinstated Facebook’s Enterprise Certification.

While noting the potential of decentralized systems to “empower individuals,” Zuckerberg pointed out that enforcing accountability would be much harder:

It’s a lot easier to hold accountable large companies like Facebook or Google rather than a series of third-party apps. You’d also have more cases of abuse, and the recourse would be much harder.

Though Zuckerberg, did not explicitly say the social media giant will integrate blockchain technology into its platform, Facebook currently has the talent required to do so if it wanted to.

Facebook Now Amply Staffed with Crypto Talent

Earlier this month, the social media titan more or less acquired Chainspace, a smart contract development firm. The purchase allowed Facebook to absorb most of the startup’s employees into its blockchain division making it more of an “acqui-hire.”

Facebook is also rumored to be eyeing other acquisitions in the crypto space. As previously reported by CCN.com, the company has met with blockchain startups such as Basis, Keybase, and Algorand.

Prior to the Chainspace acquisition, Facebook’s blockchain division was estimated to have around 40 employees. The division is headed by David Marcus who is an ex-board member of U.S. cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase.

Mark Zuckerberg Image from Shutterstock