• Denise Paglinawan

Facebook unveils outline for new ‘privacy-focused’ app features


Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg at the 2019 F8 Developer Conference (Credit: Facebook Newsroom)

Facebook has announced its plan for the future of its social platforms: privacy.


The company that has drawn criticisms and faced international investigations for privacy issues and data breaches over the past years has unveiled a plan to revamp its social platforms to become “more privacy-focused.”


Speaking during the annual F8 developer conference on Tuesday, Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg outlined changes to the company’s products, including new desktop and mobile app features for Facebook, Messenger, WhatsApp and Instagram.


“Now look, I get that a lot of people aren’t sure that we’re serious about this,” Zuckerberg said through laughs.


“I know that we don’t exactly have the strongest reputation on privacy right now, to put it lightly. But I’m committed to doing this well and to starting a new chapter for our products.”


Here are some of the changes announced during the conference:


Messenger


Completely rebuilt from scratch, the new and supposedly faster Messenger mobile app is expected to roll out later this year.


Zuckerberg also announced that Facebook will launch a desktop app for Messenger on Mac and Windows, stepping away from just being in its traditional place on the Facebook site in browsers. He said this was “one of our top most requested features.”


Facebook is also working on making end-to-end encryption and reduced permanence for all Messenger and WhatsApp conversations, said Zuckerberg, “Without having to worry about hackers, governments or even us [at Facebook] being able to see what you’re saying.”


“I think this is going to be a historically important step for privacy around the world,” he added.


Messenger will also launch a Friends tab which will show Instagram and Facebook stories from people you follow.


WhatsApp


WhatsApp will be launching a new feature called Product Catalogs where businesses can showcase their products for people to easily see them. “This is going to be especially important for small businesses who don’t have a web presence,” said Zuckerberg.


Zuckerberg also introduced WhatsApp payments and said sending money should be “as easy as it is to send a photo.” This feature is already being tested in India.


The CEO also mentioned WhatsApp’s real-time location sharing feature but did not mention any updates to it, rather just reiterated that the feature is encrypted and the company does not see any of the shared information.


Facebook


Groups will be the centre of the newly redesigned Facebook app. The new design is a lighter and sleeker look compared to the blue Facebook banner everyone is familiar with.


A redesigned Facebook webpage similar to the new look of the mobile app will also be launched in the next few months.


Zuckerberg said this is the biggest change Facebook has made to the app and website in the last five years.


Instagram


Instagram will be launching a new shopping channel in its explore page, allowing users to browse and buy products directly within the app.


It will also be easier to shop from creators without leaving the app. By simply tapping on the post, users will be able to see exactly what creators are wearing and buy it on the spot.


A new camera design for Instagram will also be introduced in the upcoming weeks. The new Create Mode will make it easier to use creative tools like effects and interactive stickers without starting with a photo or video.


Lastly, Instagram makes it easier to directly raise money within the app for nonprofits. Through a donation sticker in Stories, users can create a fundraiser for causes they care about — with 100% of the money raised going to the nonprofit.


You can watch Mark Zuckerberg’s F8 keynote here.

© Denise Paglinawan 2020

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