At F8, the Facebook Developer Conference, Mark Zuckerberg took the stage after a “head on” sizzle reel – a compilation of news clips about Cambridge Analytica, the Russia investigation, and the spread of fake news. His thesis? That Facebook is investing in addressing these issues, and most importantly, working to keep people safe. Zuckerberg spoke to a three-pronged approach for how Facebook is moving forward in the wake of a very tough year:
- Protecting Election Integrity by deploying AI tools to take down ‘bad actors,’ and instituting an upfront registration process for advertisers deploying political content.
- Fighting Fake News by eliminating the following:
- Spam – considered to be actual people who aren’t pushing ideology, but are aiming to make money. Facebook’s playbook is to create tools that remove economic incentive so these users will dissipate.
- Fake Accounts – these are harmful fake accounts. Facebook has already kicked tens of thousands of these accounts off of their network, and is hiring thousands of content reviewers to continue this effort.
- Hoaxes – these are real people sharing fake information. Facebook is bringing on fact checkers to look at content that is going viral, and creating tools within Related Articles that encourages people to look at content that has been validated.
- Data Privacy is being addressed by restricting the data that developers can request, finding bad apps that have access data before 2014, and giving users tools to remove data access to apps.
Mark sounded off on a series of new tools and capabilities that fall under his desire to keep people safe while building services.
Within Facebook, look out for:
- Watch Party – allows people to watch videos together
- Meaningful Communities – a new Groups tab that makes it easier to access Groups, and find new relevant ones
- Meaningful Relationships – a brand new dating app feature within Facebook. Of this new tool, Mark said, “If we’re focused on people building relationships, then this is perhaps the most meaningful of all.”
The tool will be separate from user’s Facebook profiles, and will be a custom dating profile with only their first name. To interact with others in the dating tool, users have to start conversations based on what’s on their profile (e.g. “I see that you like to snowboard. Me too!”). The Messenger arm of the tool is also completely separated from the main Messenger app, and no images or videos can be shared across it. As for the traditional Messenger app, you’ll see a redesign focused on simplicity and speed, along with the rolling out of AR camera effects.
On Instagram, you’ll see the following:
- Explore is being redesigned to focus on specific interests.
- Video Chat is being rolled out.
- AR Camera Effects are coming to Instagram as well.
In other news, What’s App will be integrating group video calls, and Stories will have third party integration with Spotify, which will allow users to share links to their favorite songs and albums and to annotate them.
After this series of updates, Mark Zuckerberg closed out his talk with some inspiration. He said, “If you believe, as I do, that giving people a voice is important; that building relationships is important; that creating a sense of community is important; that doing the hard work of trying to bring the world together is important, then we will keep building!”