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This week saw Facebook’s annual F8 Developer Conference which was either the best or worst timing for Zuckerberg. With all eyes on Facebook right now, everyone was keen to see what new tools and features were on the way for the Facebook group. And it certainly didn’t disappoint.
The first day of the conference was crammed with announcements alongside Mark’s keynote speech. There’s one very notable theme here: pretty much everything that Facebook has announced is all about bringing people closer together, which is something that Facebook have said they want to focus on more and more. There was also of course a nod to data and privacy, in-between a tonne of exciting new launches for Facebook, Instagram Messenger and Whatsapp.
We’ve collated the top highlights from the conference for you – so let’s take a look at what’s new…
Facebook dating is coming
First, Facebook went after Snapchat. Now it wants more and is taking on Tinder with a new dating feature. With over 200 million people on Facebook listed as single, Zuckerberg has seen an opportunity to play matchmaker. He was quick to point out, however, that this new feature is “going to be for building long-term relationships, not just hook-ups”, so perhaps think less Tinder and more Match.com. In fact, as soon as Facebook announced their new dating offering, stocks for Match Group fell by more than 22%. Considering the under 25’s are abandoning Facebook, but over 35’s are continuing to join in their millions, Facebook are making a smart move by positioning the new dating tool more towards this age group.
However, one thing that Zuckerberg managed to dodge was highlighting that Facebook will need to surely use meaningful chunks of data in order to create meaningful relationships. Probably for the best?
Loads of newness for Instagram Stories
The majority of new updates that were announced for Instagram were unsurprisingly, specifically for their Stories platform. Zuckerberg announced that AR camera effects are coming soon, that will allow brands and public figures to create custom AR filters of their own and their followers will then be able to use the filter in their own stories. This new feature will have a tonne of potential for brands and influencers alike for increasing meaningful engagement.
You will also soon be able to start sharing to stories across Facebook, Instagram and Whatsapp from other apps like Spotify, Soundcloud and GoPro. When hitting the ‘share’ button from Spotify for example, you will be able to share a sticker of songs, albums or playlists that you’re currently listening to. There’s something quite ‘Myspace’ about this, which we think millennials will respond well to. Your GoPro footage can also be uploaded into stories and they are also looking at more app integration in the near future.
Video chat on Instagram
In another bid to bring people closer to their friends and family, Instagram is also launching a video chat feature to their platform. Zuckerberg noted that people have already been using Instagram live to hang out with each other, so he’s spotted a clear opportunity where people genuinely want to use these tools to come closer together.
As part of the announcements, Instagram Explore will also be getting a makeover and new filters are being implemented to protect users from bullying, where any comments containing attacks on a person’s appearance or character will be automatically hidden. Although, this is a great move to make the internet a safer space (particularly for younger users) and helping to stamp out bullying, we can’t help but wonder not only how this will work and what will cause a comment to be hidden but if it will be able to work to full effect.
Facebook’s ‘Clear History’
Hot on the heels of the Cambridge Analytica data scandal, it was obvious that Zuckerberg would dedicate a portion of his keynote speech to changes they are planning on making for Facebook users to feel safer. Just before the event even started, Zuckerberg announced a new privacy feature, where users will be able see and then delete any data that Facebook has collected from websites and apps.
Almost like deleting cookies from your browsing history, the new privacy control called “Clear History” is an obvious attempt from Facebook to give users more transparency around their data, and is also an acknowledgement that the platform needs to turn itself around after probably the worst publicity the company has faced in its 14 year history.
Messenger is getting a complete redesign in an attempt to make the platform look cleaner and to give users a simpler experience. Zuckerberg noted that people today want a “simple and fast experience” when using chat apps, so that’s exactly what they want to focus on. This will include a dark mode and simplified bottom navigation to give the app a more streamlined look and feel.
There’s quite a few other announcements for Messenger like M Translations and AR effects being brought to the platform.