It seems like Facebook CEO, Mark Zuckerburg always has something cooking. On April 30th, the social media platform hosted its annual conference, F8, with over 5,000 in attendance. Zuckerburg, during his keynote speech, talked about how Facebook is working towards a more privacy based social platform. He stressed the importance of this privacy change and how it is a fundamental shift in how the company is running and how they develop their products. Wall Street Journal’s David Pierce was in attendance and he shared his thoughts, via Twitter, on the use, or overuse, of the word privacy.
During this conference, it was also announced that many of the platforms under the Facebook umbrella will be having some significant changes as well.
Facebook will be rolling out ‘FB5’, a new design for the platform that will be “simpler, faster, more immersive, and puts your communities at the center”. Users will start to notice these changes to the mobile app in the present, while the new desktop site will come in the next few months.
Facebook will also be putting a focus on Groups. According to the Head of the Facebook App, Fidji Simo, “More than 400 million people on Facebook belong to a group that they find meaningful.” Because of this, the new and improved Groups tab will offer a personalized feed of the Groups a user is currently a part of and will offer personalized recommendations of Groups that might be of interest. In the spirit of privacy and ease of use, the Groups overhaul will also feature new features to support specific communities. For Health Support Groups, users can post a question or share information and not have their name shared with the post. Gaming Groups will have a chat feature introduced so users can interact on different topics within the group. Job Groups will have a template feature that makes it easier for employers to post their listing and find quality candidates.
Although there were a number of changes announced at Facebook’s F8 for the ‘FB5’, the final big one was the change to Marketplace. Users will now be able to ship items from the Marketplace anywhere in the continental United States and even pay for those items directly on Facebook. No more being tied down to your local area for shopping on Facebook!
But I still don’t hear or read too much about privacy…
Facebook was excited to announce that they are completely rebuilding their Messenger App from the ground up. This rebuild is planned to make the app faster and simpler for the end user. Not only will this app be faster and simpler but it is boasting some exciting new features. The first being, when you and your friends or family are not together, you will be able to watch or discover videos together in real time through the app.
Messenger will now have a dedicated space where users can discover and share stories with their friends! Essentially Messenger is adding stories to their platform. Another part of Facebook’s rebuild of the Messenger app is the lead generation templates, available through Ads Manager, to be able to use Q&A to gather information on customers. Not only that but also, with the new Messenger comes an appointment experience that makes it easier for the end user to book appointments with businesses through conversations.
And the final part of this, what seems to be a massive, overhaul, is the introduction of a native desktop app for Messenger. All of these changes will be rolled out later in 2019.
Again, not too much privacy to be read about here.
Beginning the week of May 6th, users will have the ability to, finally some would say, to shop directly from the creators they follow without having to leave the app. This means no more asking where they purchased that shirt from in the comments section but rather the user can tap the photo, see the product and purchase, all within minutes.
Another exciting feature that is actually for use as of earlier this week is the ability to fundraise money for causes and charities through stories!
The final change, of very few, coming to Instagram this year, is the new camera that will offer a Create Mode.
Nope, no privacy mentioned here.
All in all, it seems like Facebook is upping their user experience with some fascinating new features to their products. For the end user, this will most likely give a more personalized experience while using social media. However, with how much Zuckerburg stressed privacy, I didn’t see much about it after his keynote. Then again, I was not physically at the conference. Let’s hope he sticks to this promise as he and his team are rolling out these new features. Especially those that are set to compete with Amazon in an e-commerce space. For more on the F8 Conference, you can read here.