Facebook is launching a new privacy push during its annual developer conference, telling businesses they will be getting less access to users’ data.
And some major new features for the platform are being announced. They include:
:: Moving away from a web-browser to make a desktop app
:: New app design putting groups first
:: Facebook Dating with a “Secret Crush” feature
:: Business-focused updates to Messenger
Speaking in San Jose, California, company founder and chief executive Mark Zuckerberg announced a range of new features and restrictions for businesses on its platform as part of a “privacy-focused” vision.
During his keynote speech, Mr Zuckerberg said: “Look, I get that a lot of people aren’t sure that we are serious about this [privacy].
“We are committed to doing this well and to starting a new chapter for our products.”
The company has been forced to apologise repeatedly in the last year over privacy, data misuse and security problems, as well as hacks, allowing hate speech and the live streaming of a mass shooting.
Dating and crushes
Facebook said it will introduce a new design in the Facebook app and desktop site that will “make it easier for you to discover and engage with groups of people who share your interests”.
It added: “When people find the right [group] it often becomes the most meaningful part of how they use Facebook.”
Recommended groups will appear on users’ homepages, and they will now be able to share a status to friends and a group from the same text box.
Facebook Dating, the company’s rival app to Tinder, will also be expanding to 14 new countries, although it is still unavailable in both the US and the UK.
It is introducing a new feature called Secret Crush, which allows users to “select up to nine of your Facebook friends who you want to express interest in”.
“If your crush has opted into Facebook Dating, they will get a notification saying that someone has a crush on them,” Facebook said.
“If your crush adds you to their Secret Crush list, it’s a match!
“If your crush isn’t on dating, doesn’t create a Secret Crush list, or doesn’t put you on their list, no one will know that you’ve entered a friend’s name.”
Messenger has also been the subject of a large number of talks during the conference, particularly covering how businesses can use it to engage with customers.
It will get a desktop app later in 2019 and will allow users to send Instagram and WhatsApp messages all from Messenger itself.
There were suggestions that the company had been testing a WhatsApp payment feature in India, and Instagram quietly added a payments feature for select businesses last year.
Facebook announced that Messenger, Instagram and WhatsApp were all being brought under one umbrella earlier this year.
The integration of the three platforms would see the company combine its data collection from the hundreds of millions of users around the world, potentially allowing it to generate the kind of revenues seen from Chinese apps such as WeChat.
That app is so widely used in China that street market stalls and buskers use it for trade, and alongside its rival AliPay it comprises a market worth of $9tn in 2016, according to Research Consulting Group.
Last year’s F8 conference came weeks after the Cambridge Analytica data breach, when tens of millions of Facebook users had their personal data accessed without their consent.
The redesigned Facebook mobile app is live in the US from Tuesday, and the desktop version will be released later this year.
Source: SKY NEWS