On Tuesday 1 May, and exactly three weeks after his US Senate hearing, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg delivered his highly anticipated keynote at the company's F8 Developer Conference in San José, California. If you were a media executive looking forward to any kind of comment or further development about Facebook's recent changes to its Newsfeed algorithm, you would be in for a disappointment.
Instead, Zuckerberg tried to address 'responsibility': "I can assure you that we are hard at work making sure that people don't misuse this platform so you can all keep building things that people love."
FIPP CEO James Hewes commented, "many of the developments Facebook announced were both exciting and welcome. However, much of the recent focus on the platform has been around data usage and the credibility of third party content. It’s therefore disappointing that Mark Zuckerberg didn’t announce any initiatives to strengthen relationships with publishers, who provide a huge volume of trusted credible content for his business."
Here's Zuckerberg's F8 keynote in full:
Zuckerberg addressed the role that Facebook has played in the last year by making reference to Russia, interfering elections, fake news, hate speech and data privacy issues and how the company is investing in addressing all these.
Among the new developments, he mentioned:
To tackle fake news, the company will address spam, fake accounts and viral hoaxes.
He also announced a series of new Facebook features: a new Groups tab, Watch Party (where he didn't miss the chance to joke about his recent US Senate hearing, "let's not do that again any time soon!"), and boosting the platform's ecommerce capabilities via its Marketplace feature.
Probably the most outstanding new optional feature that Zuckerberg announced is a new dating service.
About Facebook's other ventures,Zuckerberg announced that Instagram's Explore feature will be organised by topics; video chat will be available and its camera will now have AR capabilities.
WhatsApp users will be able to do group calls. Regarding ecommerce, large businesses will be able to use its recently rolled-out WhatsApp Business (until now available only for small businesses).
Messenger gets a redesign to have a simpler, cleaner UX plus AR features.
Lastly, Zuckerberg mentioned that his virtual reality (VR) goal is to create a real feeling of presence: mapping out photos to recreate the whole room and be able to experience the photo (even with old ones). Also that the VR device Oculus Go, which they had been developing for a while, is now available starting at US$199.
Bringing his keynote to a close, Zuckerberg chose to address again the concept of responsibility: "This is what we are thinking about our responsibility: to keep people safe and also to keep building."
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