F8, what was an 8- hour hackathon is now Facebook’s annual 2-day conference for developers, creators and entrepreneurs all around the world.
Conducted in McEnergy Convention Center in San Jose, CEO Mark Zuckerberg stressed his vision of building a privacy-focused social platform “as a product” as he debuted the newest version of the company’s core app.
Digital Equivalent of a Living Room:
With the expansion of the digital world, Privacy fills the vacuum with a unique sense of purpose — giving us the power to be ourselves. F8 spent much time discussing privacy upgrades and improvements to social impact from the client side. The problem area of concern being security, algorithm fairness, privacy, misinformation, inclusion safety and care, accessibility, election integrity and content policy.
“For the last 15 years or so, we have focused on building Facebook and Instagram into the digital equivalent of town squares. But I believe that the future is private and over time, a private social platform will be even more important in our lives than digital town squares. So today, we’re going to start talking about what this could look like as a product”, said Zuckerberg which worked to set the tone for the rest of the conference. The core techs being implemented to resolve the problem area for every product team are computer vision, natural language processing, encryption, data framework, speech recognition, text-to-speech, liability tools, AI infrastructure, OCR and embedding.
Zuckerberg aims to change their business trajectory to win back the trust of the users by focusing their vision on 6 privacy principles for every one of their digital platforms.
- Private Interactions
- Reduced Permanence
- Secure data storage
“This isn’t just about building features,” Zuckerberg said. “We need to change a lot of ways we run this company.”
Privacy First Approach:
Initially designed as an alternative to the then social-media-champion, MySpace; Facebook’s design, flexibility and the key focus on amplifying social connections and distribution of public information, rocketed to become the social media sovereign within a span of 5 years.
In early 2018, plagued by public data breaches and scandals, the social media giant was under heavy scrutiny for its management of user data. Zuckerberg didn’t dodge the issue at F8.
“I know we don’t have the strongest reputation on privacy right now, but I’m committed to doing this well and starting a new chapter for our products.” He meant it as a joke that wasn’t.
Instead of what Facebook is, F8 was about what Facebook wants to be.
The first thing to have been rolled out in the conference is FB5 with its big redesign making it lighter, faster and cleaner.De-emphasising its news feed and prioritizing groups and events. “Friends” are no longer the centre of the experience. With the launch focus has been made to build a community and make “communities as central as friends”.
The Facebook Messenger also got an overhaul for its upcoming “LightSpeed” with a rebuilt architecture making it 2x faster, 7x smaller, simpler, more reliable and more secure. With the last year messenger launch M4, it was the first step towards the vision.
“People’s communication styles are migrating toward messaging way faster than anyone thought,” said Stan Chudnovsky, head of Messenger. “And people want to communicate with businesses the same way.” With messages being end-to-end encrypted, the messenger is now the fastest and most secure messaging platform.
For business, an automated system has been created that allows customers to book an appointment through messenger.
The all-new desktop app has some new features for business users. It also allows its users to host group video calls and collaborate on projects. The AI smart camera is using the “pose detection” tech to give a hasslefree and even more life like experience.
Instagram updates basically focused on giving the users the ability to shop directly from the makers and “Support the people who make”, and raise funds within the app.
Instagram is also testing hiding the total number of likes a post receives to bring back the focus on connection than posting for likes.
Stories now don’t have to start with the camera anymore. Users can now get more creative with their stories. They can now raise money for charitable causes with a new donation sticker on their stories.
Finally, the Instagram camera will be updated with the “create mode” allowing to post effects and interactive stickers without having to take a photo or record a video.
Whatsapp updates deliver a private and intimate experience with end-to-end encryption. It now allows users to send their location privately with their friends and families. The company rolled out a product catalogue feature for small WhatsApp businesses and payment process that is being tested in India.
Zuckerberg left the audience with one final notion:
“This is about building the kind of future we want to live in. To build a world where we can be ourselves and live freely and know that our private moments are only going to be seen by the people they want, where we can come together around community and commerce, where we build in the tools that we need to keep us safe from the beginning and prevent harm and we then are able to focus on all the good people are able to do. Both in private and in public, both the living room and the town squares.”
How do you think Facebook’s new direction would affect the users? We’re hoping to see some more updates?
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