After a year of privacy concerns surrounding Facebook, the annual F8 Developer Conference could not come soon enough. The tech giant announced some real game-changing features that will come into play in the near future. Doubling down on reinventing its reputation as a secure social network was one of its main priorities.
Here’s some of the key announcements from the conference:
Facebook’s 2019 Strategy
First and foremost, Mark Zuckerberg insisted that Facebook will focus on six key principles to tackle the platform’s ongoing privacy concerns: encryption, interoperability, ephemerality, safety, secure data storage and private interactions. During the conference, Zuckerberg reiterated his desire to have people communicating freely, while feeling their conversations are safe and secure.
Facebook looks to enforce these six key principles aimed to increase its privacy throughout its platforms this year. There is a plan to launch an encrypted messaging service that works across Instagram, WhatsApp, and Messenger. The aim is to protect all private conversations end-to-end for billions of people around the world. Even though this is a much needed adaptation to its privacy systems, Facebook have received some backlash from releasing the news. It could potentially provide a safe haven for criminals, as there will now be a secure way to communicate any illegal activity.
Facebook’s Brand Refresh
The F8 conference confirmed that the rumours were true. Facebook is having a face lift.
The new design will have a lighter appearance, losing the iconic blue theme Facebook has consistently featured for the last 15 years. It should now be a lot easier to navigate through different applications and features, along with a new redesigned top bar.
Messenger has taken a huge leap away from the Facebook interface, with the goal to become the fastest messaging service on the net, by making the transition to an additional desktop app. It’s also putting more effort into integration, making transitioning between the Facebook app family more seamless.
A “New Friends” tab will be coming to Messenger where users will now be able to see content from people they follow across Instagram, Whatsapp and Facebook. Another cool feature is the “Watch Together” element. This will be a place where friends will be able to connect with each other and watch content remotely through their devices.
An improved focus has been placed around Groups, with a new featured tab being centered in the middle of the top bar. The redesign is intending to help users expand their social circles. It includes a feature called “Meet New Friends”, that will connect strangers who have common similarities (like a school or employer). Also, It will now become easier to find events near you as well.
More Reasons To Love Instagram
Instagram is set to drop a huge list of new features including: a brand new camera layout for its Stories, improved AR usability, product tagging for brands, in-app purchases and many more.
The influencer game is taking another step up the social ladder as they will now be able to tag branded products on their posts, allowing full purchasing functionality without leaving the app! Brands will now be able to track how much of a leverage each individual influencer has on a brand and what their true ROI is. This feature is only available to a select few as it stands, with Instagram looking to make it available for its users after the beta period.
Life isn’t fair, right? Why does Kylie Jenner have her own Story filter but the rest of us don't! Well, Instagram have leaped into the AR pool of creativity by allowing its users to create their very own filters. The software behind the creation of previous AR filters, Spark AR Studio, will now be available for everyone.
This will be great for creatives who can now utilise AR and get working on engaging content to entertain and captivate their audience. Creating your own AR effect will be a great way to increase your following as accounts who want to use the filters will have to either follow the brand or visit their profile.
Reasons Not To Love Instagram
Whether you like it or not, the rumours are again true. Instagram is officially testing hiding the count of likes on peoples posts. With aspirations of getting users to post better content, this change should get followers to focus on the content, rather that the amount of likes its getting. With social pressure a constant talking topic, this is a great way to decrease the social anxiety that surrounds its social networking platform. Facebook had this to say about their act to make social media a less “pressurised environment”:
“We want people to worry a little bit less about how many likes they get on Instagram, and a bit more time connecting with people they really care about. As you scroll through your feed, there are no like counts. You can see who liked a photo or video, you can tap through it, if you have the time you can add them all up yourself, the owner can see how many people liked the photo but only if they ask.”
This is a brave move, as the like functionality has given a lot of creators, artists and everyday users the ability to see what post work well on other accounts and potentially reproduce it themselves. Nethertheless, this is an important step in the right direction to get users to post more authentic content without worrying about competing with other accounts.
We're excited to hear about all the developments that are on the cards for Facebook and Instagram. A major question still lingers among many regarding its privacy concerns, will Facebook be able to regain the trust of its 2.3 billion users? We’ll have to wait and see.