Four years later he has decided it is time to placate other anxious Facebookers too.
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced Wednesday that the Silicon Valley company will begin completely reorienting its platform over the next several years, moving toward encryption and privacy. The idea is to give people more control over their private messages and how long they're stored, and to reduce the permanence of the content that people share. This is something that has been sorely lacking from the platform as now constituted.
Despite its huge size and vast resources, analysts say Facebook will have a tough time establishing itself as a leader in private, encrypted communication.
In a Facebook post on Wednesday, the CEO and founder detailed his overarching vision for how to make the service more secure, including encrypting messages.
Police have raised concerns about introducing similar security to the other services because they would no longer be able to access online chat records to track religious extremists or other perpetrators. This will prevent older messages from coming back to haunt members.
One of the areas Zuckerberg says Facebook will start focusing more on going forward, along with encrypted conversations, is small groups.
These "tradeoffs" include the possibility of Facebook getting banned in countries like Russian Federation and Vietnam whose law enforcement agencies do not allow encryption, and also demand that data be stored in local servers within the country. Integration could make it much more hard, if not impossible, to later separate out and spin off Instagram and WhatsApp as separate companies. He expects both apps to handle the majority of communication on the Facebook network.
Even in India, Facebook and its social media platforms WhatsApp and Instagram appeared before a parliamentary committee recently to assure the Centre that they were complying with the local privacy laws.
"I believe we should be working towards a world where people can speak privately and live freely knowing that their information will only be seen by who they want to see it and won't all stick around forever", he wrote.
Adding end-to-end encryption to all private messages would mean Facebook could not be compelled by governments to hand over its users' personal messages, because it does not have a copy. Greenfield says that this space is now controlled by Apple's iMessage and Snapchat.
It's another instance of Facebook copying Snapchat, which was founded as an app for self-destructing messaging.
Alex Stamos, a former Facebook chief security officer who is now on the Stanford University faculty, said the effort adroitly addresses some of the challenges for the social network. We plan to start by making it possible for you to send messages to your contacts using any of our services, and then to extend that interoperability to SMS too. "Upholding this principle may mean that our services will get blocked in some countries, or that we won't be able to enter others anytime soon".
"Privacy gives people the freedom to be themselves and connect more naturally, which is why we build social networks", Zuckerberg wrote. "That's a tradeoff we're willing to make". He covers everything from encryption to data storage to user safety.