Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg is seriously evaluating the potential of blockchain to allow Internet users to connect to various services via a set of identifiers without calling on third parties.
Such use of technology would be a compelling alternative to services such as Facebook Connect, the social media giant's unique application, Zuckerberg said in a recent interview with Jonathan Zittrain, a law professor at Harvard Law.
"A use of the blockchain that I thought … although I did not find a way to solve this problem, concerns the authentication and … the granting of the. access to your information to different services, "he said. "So, replace the notion of what we have with Facebook Connect by something really distributed."
In summary, Zuckerberg added:
"Basically, you take your information, you store it on a decentralized system and you have the choice to connect to places without going through an intermediary",
This arrangement for logins would appeal to software developers who do not want to rely on companies that can cut user access, said Zuckerberg, pointing out that this would also be a disadvantage, since it would also prevent companies to deal with bad actors.
Advantages and disadvantages
Citing a scandal that led to Facebook last year, he added: "Basically, people chose to give their affiliated data to the University of Cambridge and this person sold this information to Cambridge Analytica, which constitutes a violation of our policies. We cut developer access. "
The lesson, he said, is that "if you have a fully distributed system, it gives people a lot of responsibility, but … that raises the question of consent and how people can really know that they give their consent to an institution. In some ways, it is much easier to regulate and hold large corporations accountable. … I think it's a really interesting social issue. "
Highlighting his ambivalence about this idea, Zuckerberg added:
"The question is: do you really want that? Do you have more cases where, yes, people might not have an intermediary but there would be no more abuse and remedies would be much more difficult? "
He also recognized the vast technical problems created by decentralization.
"Certainly the level of computing done by Facebook is really intense to do in a distributed way," he said. "Decentralized things that require a lot of calculation will be more difficult. It's harder to do calculations, but in the end you may have the resources to do it.
Mark Zuckerberg image via Shutterstock.