At its annual F8 conference yesterday Facebook announced a major update to its desktop and mobile apps that, according to Mark Zuckerberg, includes the biggest changes in five years. Here’s our hot take:
PRIVATE LOVE A major theme for the day was the importance of privacy. Facebook’s updated suite of messaging apps — WhatsApp, Messenger, and Stories — allow enhanced versions of the one-to-one and one-to-a-few options of IM. In addition, Facebook is working hard to get everyone to forget about the Cambridge Analytica scandal and the more recent breaches in April of this year, so putting privacy front and center is a smart, though potentially risky, way to do that.
GROUP LOVE The “Groups” icon is moving to the center of the toolbar and thus, along with the stories feature, will be the centerpiece of the Facebook experience. Facebook launched Groups with the goal of helping users with shared interests find each other, and as important, keep others out. While self-selecting groups won’t decrease controversial or polarizing content on the site, they could help contain it. Put another way, you’ll still get to see photos from your uncle of your niece’s ballet recital, but now won’t have to see the pro-Trump news or counter-Trump opinions he loves to share.
SECRET LOVE Facebook will continue to roll out Facebook Dating, and announced an additional 14 countries that will soon have access to the feature (sorry USA, you’ll have to head north to Canada to try it out). They’re also looking to help you meet your friend’s cute friend. Secret Crush will help make those connections. It’s 100% opt-in, because Facebook doesn’t need something else to make it seem creepy now, does it?
MONEY LOVE All of these changes are being done to increase time spent across all of Facebook’s platforms, which in turn lead to an increase in the advertising a user sees and hears. This begs the question, is privacy being optimized . . . or are you?
The breadth of Facebook’s offerings means that it will continue to dominate the social media space for the foreseeable future. By finding more ways for us to love them, they’re hoping to keep advertiser interest in the platform flowing.
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