RBH’s Insight Manager, Joe Hepburn, reviews the Facebook F8 Developer Conference 2019.
At the annual Facebook Developer Conference this year, Facebook unveiled so many new initiatives, redesigns and features that you can’t blame yourselves if you missed some of them. RBH is here to make sure you don’t have to watch two hours of Zuckerberg and co. patting themselves on the back. Instead, spend two minutes reading this and you will be able to consider yourselves informed.
Zuckerberg takes privacy issues head on
Following on from the controversy Facebook has faced in regard to privacy, Zuckerberg took the concerns head on, even going as far to admit that their track record in privacy is poor. After acknowledging that the crowd would most likely be sitting with furrowed brow at the notion of Facebook leading the charge for privacy, he went on to coin the phrase that dominated the event, ‘The future is private’.
Among the first features to back this promise is a new push for end-to-end encryption on Facebook Messenger, something that has been available on WhatsApp since late 2016. Zuckerberg promised that Facebook would be making sure its partners don’t abuse data they do have access to, and that the philosophy would extend beyond just making their apps more secure but also the experience for the user more private.
Facebook have introduced new features on Instagram and revealed some in the works, including private like counts. These show who has liked a post, but unless a user is willing to scroll down a list of likes and count them up themselves on an abacus, they won’t see the total. Facebook is working on anti-bullying features on Instagram, detecting when a user is going to be making a provocative comment and giving them what they call a ‘nudge’ to remind them not to be a miscreant.
‘The Gram’ gets new camera modes while Facebook helps you hook up with that secret crush.
While all of these privacy and safe guarding features are crucial to the future being private, Facebook didn’t fail to announce a number of updates that will make the inner 14-year-old in us rejoice. A new camera mode on Instagram called ‘create’, making it easier to add dog ears to our friends and much easier to just capture important moments right there in the app.
facebook-f8-2019-instagram-camera-mode-facebook-secret-crush-rbhFacebook have also decided to make it easier to date your friends. With the new ‘Secret Crush’ feature, you can pick up to nine of your friends that you have a ‘crush’ on, completely privately and in secret. If any of these friends have a ‘crush’ on you back, well you get notified and undoubtedly a truly powerful romance will blossom.
Shopping and fundraising made easy on Insta
Influencers will now be able to add shopping tags to posts; this is huge for Instagram in its push into shopping. Instead of putting links in bios, or intense intricate tracking in analytics for the advertiser, the influencer now just adds the shopping tag and commissions start rolling in.
It’s not all business, business, business though. Instagram have also introduced ‘donation stickers’ allowing people to raise funds for charities through their stories. If you notice the tiny favicon on your address bar change, that’s not a glitch, Facebook have had a brand refresh, at least in their visual identity. A smart move while trying to take the company in a new direction.
The future’s made of virtual reality
For those of you that are waving your arms around in your bedroom, holding plastic remotes and wearing a Darth Vader helmet, don’t worry, Zuckerberg had you covered there too. Oculus have realised the adoption rate of VR needs to be increased dramatically. It turns out your average consumer doesn’t have a large open room with no furniture for cameras and a £2,000 gaming PC. Facebook Oculus Quest is an all in one VR system shipping soon to consumers that will promise to bring a seamless VR experience with no ‘add-ons’ needed.
And what’s up with WhatsApp?
Let’s not forget about WhatsApp either. WhatsApp is believed to be the connector between businesses, brands and the consumers. Zuckerberg spoke about how if you live in a community where WhatsApp is already popular, you already know its power. The newest update will allow businesses on WhatsApp to display entire product catalogues directly on their profiles.facebook-f8-2019-instagram-fundraising-whatsapp-payments-rbh
This follows a key trend in marketing, more and more we notice that communities of people, not homogenous hordes of consumers, are those that truly engage with a brand. Smaller and more valuable communities are popping up all around the world. It’s why closed WhatsApp groups are increasingly popular, its why Game of Thrones created closed Reddit threads to market the final season based on your allegiances. Facebook have hit the bullseye with their goal.
Zuckerberg’s ultimate goal among all of these features is to create a “private social platform” across all of its products, WhatsApp, Messenger, Instagram, Facebook and even Oculus.
We think they might just do it.
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