Facebook has reportedly created a new block chain division with the intent to “explore how to best leverage Blockchain across Facebook, starting from scratch.” The new team is being led by the Vice President of Facebook’s Messaging Products, David Marcus. In a statement released by the social networking service company to technology news and media company The Verge, Facebook highlighted its stance towards Blockchain technology: “Like many other companies Facebook is exploring ways to leverage the power of blockchain technology. This new small team will be exploring many different applications. We don’t have anything further to share.” Despite the sparse details, rumors are rife that Facebook will soon launch its own cryptocurrency. According to business news website CNBC, the company’s recent reorganization was the biggest in its 15-year history.
Video news website, Cheddar.com, explicitly announced Facebook’s plan to create its own digital currency, one that will allow its worldwide users to make payments electronically. Cheddar cited the company’s past efforts to study block chain a year ago when its corporate development team member Morgan Beller researched how blockchain functioned to support Bitcoin and Ethereum. Currently, Facebook’s blockchain group is headed by ex-PayPal president, Bitcoin investor and Coinbase board member Marcus. Cheddar’s source similarly claim that Facebook will use blockchain technology to perform identity account verification and data encryption.
However, Redditor commenters under the /r/CryptoCurrency forum are not impressed. User Cburns6976 called Facebook “the enemy of decentralization”. The user adds that Facebook “would probably sell your wallet info.”
Another user, Silent_Gemini, expressed doubts on Facebook’s intent. The user explained, “If their intention was to provide a digital payment system for their
users, they (would) have just (integrated) one of the already existing
coins. Facebook making their own crypto makes me suspicious of their
Users’ skepticism are not unfounded though as Facebook was recently involved in a data scandal that affected more than 80 million of its users. It was revealed last month that Facebook shared its users’ personal information to data analytics firm Cambridge Analytica. Those affected included not just Facebook subscribers in the US but also users in the UK, Indonesia, and the Philippines.
Such a glaring data breach did not escape Reddit commenter Steven81 who expressed 100% distrust at Facebook’s services: “I mean what’s the point? If it is as centralized as facebook’s services who is to trust it?
It’s already a lot to trust FB with your data, trusting them with an asset that you own, given their track record? How can it even fly. Point of cryptos -in part- was to solve the issue of trust. Facebook is into some very shady sh** , whoever trusts them?”
Given users’ feedback to Facebook’s blockchain efforts, it seems the social media company has a long way to go to earn people’s trust. Still, it’s millions of users’ preference to remain with Facebook and not delete their account could be considered proof enough that people do not mind the data breach scandal it was involved in. Or should they?