Mark Zuckerberg, CEO and founder of Facebook, expressed interest in utilizing blockchain technology for the authorization of data, such as logins and account validation, in an interview with Harvard Law professor Jonathan Zittrain on Feb. 20th.
In the interview, Zuckerberg iterated his January promise where he said he would look into blockchain and cryptocurrencies for its power to decentralize the internet.
Zuckerberg told Zittrain that he “thinks we [Facebook] are a decentralizing force in the world,” adding that people of his generation got into technology because “It gives individuals power, and is not massively centralizing.”
With this mindset, Zuckerberg went on to explain the potential use cases of blockchain within Facebook’s framework, especially around decentralizing the control of data—a concern that has dogged Facebook since the Cambridge Analytica scandal.
“Basically, you take your information, you store it on some decentralized system, and you have the choice to log into places without going through an intermediary,” he began.
The CEO also added that decentralized systems may give users more control over their data but could also lead to more abuse, and any recourse would be far more difficult:
“In a fully distributed system, there’d be nobody who could cut off their access. A fully distributed system empowers individuals on the one hand, but it really raises the stakes,” said Zuckerberg. “It’s a lot easier to hold accountable large companies like Facebook or Google than a series of third-party apps. You’d also have more cases of abuse, and the recourse would be much harder.”
During the discussion, Zuckerberg was happy to look at both sides of the equation in terms of implementing blockchain technology on the social media platform. In that vein, he stated “I haven’t found a way for this to work” when explaining his stance about potentially using blockchain for login authentication—another use case the CEO is mulling over.
Facebook has taken another step towards experimenting with and implementing blockchain technology on its platform. Former VP of Messenger David Marcus was reassigned to launch a team to explore blockchain for Facebook in May of last year. On top of that, a number of blockchain developer roles opened up in December last year.
Facebook has shown its interest in blockchain ever since Zuckerberg made public his promise to further explore the technology, but this interview represents additional evidence that the social media giant is closer to utilizing blockchain for specific purposes within its enterprise. Such a move can’t be underemphasized as large companies begin leveraging and investing in the new technology.