F8 2019: What's new from Facebook and Instagram
Facebook Dating is launching in 14 new countries -- but not yet in the US, which is slated to happen later this year.
Facebook Dating, announced at last year's F8, is an opt-in service that lets you set up a dating profile with your first name. Only others who similarly opt-in for the service will be able to view profiles.
Dating will have a new feature called Secret Crush, announced today. It allows you to create a private list of friends you're interested in. If that friend puts you on their own secret list, you will be outed as having a mutual crush.
Starting today, Dating will expand to the Philippines, Vietnam, Singapore, Malaysia, Laos, Brazil, Peru, Chile, Bolivia, Ecuador, Paraguay, Uruguay, Guyana and Suriname. It is already available in Colombia, Thailand, Canada, Argentina and Mexico.
"We don’t exactly have the strongest reputation on privacy right now, to put it lightly," Zuckerberg said.
The company has had a tough year, full of a seemingly never-ending list of scandals involving privacy, security, foreign election meddling and fake news.
Zuckerberg also hinted that there could be more issues ahead.
"I'm sure we're going to keep unearthing old issues for a while, so it may not seem like we're making progress at first," he said.
He also laid out 6 principles that Facebook is focusing on:
- private interactions
- reduced permanence (meaning content and messages that disappear)
- interoperability (being able to communicate across the company's different apps)
- and secure data storage
Instagram said it's running a test in Canada starting later this week that hides the total number of likes on photos and videos. Likes will be removed from the News Feed, permalink pages and profiles.
While followers won't be able to see the total number of likes during the test, posters still be able to see how many likes their own content gets. If you're part of the test, you can't opt out.
"We are testing this because we want your followers to focus on the photos and videos you share, not how many likes they get," Instagram said.
Facebook is revamping its logo, mobile app and website. Zuckerberg described the new Facebook app as the fifth major iteration of the service.
The Facebook logo will now be a circle rather than a square. The website also features much less blue, which has long been Facebook's color.
Facebook's new design is meant to be simpler and put "your communities" at the center. Users will begin noticing some of the new changes in the Facebook app immediately, while the new website will come in the coming months.
Instagram recently launched the ability to shop directly on the platform. Starting next week, users can purchase looks directly from the feeds of their favorite influencers.
Celebrities, artists, athletes, publishers and other public figures will be able to tag the products they’re wearing with shop-able tags. Until now, only brands had this capability. (Influencers will not get a percent of any sale, though).
To start, Instagram is testing the functionality with a limited number of public figures, including Kim Kardashian West, Kylie Jenner and Gigi Hadid. Some publishers such as Elle and Vogue will get the feature, too.
Facebook’s Messenger app is getting a few upgrades. The company said the app will soon be faster -- launching in "well under" two seconds -- and take up less space on your phone.
- Users will be able to watch videos together in real time on Messenger, similar to Facebook’s Watch Party feature. They can share a video from the main Facebook app to Messenger and invite friends to watch it together while messaging each other or talking via video chat. Messenger is currently testing this feature, and plans to make it available globally later this year.
- Messenger is getting a desktop app for Windows and MacOS. The desktop version is still undergoing testing and is expected to roll out worldwide later this year.
- Facebook said 410 million people video chat on Messenger every month.
Facebook announced Tuesday that its two new virtual-reality headsets – Oculus Quest, which is fully self-contained and wireless, and Rift S, which tethers to a PC for more powerful gaming experience – will start shipping on May 21.
The headsets, which have built-in sensors to track the position and rotation of the wearer’s head and use Oculus’s wireless Touch controllers track hands, can be ordered starting Tuesday. Rift S costs $399, while Quest costs $399 or $499, depending on the amount of internal storage buyers want.
The headsets are Facebook’s latest attempt to popularize consumer VR, which has so far failed to catch on as a mass-market technology in the home.
According to data from tech market researcher ABI Research, 6.5 million consumer VR headsets shipped in 2018, and the market is set to grow to 10.5 million headsets shipped this year. Despite the projected growth, it's still a tiny number of VR devices when you think about it compared to, say, video game consoles, of which tens of millions are sold each year.
Instagram is taking a page out of Facebook’s playbook.
The Facebook-owned photo-sharing app is adding a donation button to Instagram Stories so users can start their own nonprofit fundraisers. Starting Tuesday, Instagram users in the US can raise money for groups like Black Girls Code, ASPCA, No Kid Hungry and the Nature Conservancy.
Donations have been a huge success on Facebook: Over $1 billion has been raised on the platform for various causes as of November 2018.
Carolyn Everson, Facebook VP of its Global Business Group, spoke to reporters at an F8 viewing party at the company's New York office.
"It has not been an easy 18 to 24 months at Facebook. I'm not going to sugarcoat it," she said.
Everson, who has been with the company for eight years, called Facebook's latest struggles "the biggest cultural shift we've seen," even more so than other major business changes it has endured, including the shift to mobile, beefing up its video presence or acquiring Instagram.
Over the past 2 years, Facebook faced a seemingly never-ending stream of scandals, from not properly masking user passwords and a massive data breach to collecting as many as 1.5 million users' email contacts without their consent.
"We are taking these things seriously," said Everson, who added she's "proud" of the work Facebook is doing and the progress it has made.