Redesigns and changes to Facebook, and accompanying apps, were presented at the F8 2019 conference earlier this week.
In an opening keynote on day 1 of the two-day event, founder and CEO of the social media platform, Mark Zuckerberg, presented a new focus on privacy: “giving people spaces where they can express themselves freely and feel connected to the people and communities that matter most.”
Facebook has not come out unscathed from recent scandals traced back to the social media giant, regarding its misuse of personal information. In the past 24 months alone, it was revealed that Facebook released personal user information to over 150 companies without approval.
There was also the US election scandal, where Facebook data was collected by Cambridge Analytica for the likely purpose of interfering with the 2016 election results.
Social media in Sweden
In 2018, 83 percent of all Swedes used social media, and daily use came in at 63 percent. Bearing that in mind, it is clear to see that social media privacy is no small matter.
Facebook is the biggest social media platform in the Nordic country, with Facebook-owned Instagram coming in at second place. Whereas Facebook use as a whole has stagnated some, use of its messaging app, Messenger, remains high.
In addition, Instagram use in Sweden grew at a rate of 7 percent in 2018, the most out of all social media platforms.
A privacy focus
“The future is private,” Zuckerberg emphasised in his keynote at F8, adding that it “gives us the freedom to be ourselves”.
Initially the CEO and founder started off on a lighthearted note, joking that Facebook might not “exactly have the strongest reputation on privacy right now, to put it lightly”, but then quickly went on to explain how he aims to try and remedy it, and stressed the importance of doing so.
“We believe that for the future, people want a privacy-focused social platform. I believe that if we build out a fully encrypted interoperable service… that’s going to be an important contribution to the world.”
The six principles presented by Zuckerberg in his statement on updates to Facebook privacy were private interactions, encryption, reduced permanence, safety, interoperability, and secure data storage. Principles that will apply across the board of all apps owned by the company.
A strengthened focus on privacy is not the only change in the redesign of Facebook’s core app. There is a marked shift away from News Feed, where instead Groups will serve as its main cornerstone.
The social media platform is also moving on from its Facebook-blue, and it is introducing a new future called Secret Crush, as part of expanding Facebook Dating to more countries.
Furthermore, Messenger will now focus more on sharing photos or messages specifically with close friends, and Instagram is reducing the pressure of how many likes you get, by making it less prominent. It is also including some additional camera features in the new Create Mode.
Finally, it has also been reported that Whatsapp, Messenger, and Instagram will at some point be unified moving forward, but it is not yet been stated when, or to what extent.
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