An update from Facebook's F8 Conference - What's coming up?

Facebook recently held its annual F8 conference in California. As the biggest social media giant in the world any public announcement that Facebook makes is to be treated as key thanks to the impact this could potentially have on any business that relies on social for customer engagement. So, what is coming up in the world of Facebook in the foreseeable future?

Facebook's F8 Conference – what was announced

WhatsApp style encryption

For anyone worried about data privacy (which is almost everyone today thanks to the arrival of the GDPR), Facebook is introducing end-to-end encryption for Messenger. Given that Facebook doesn’t have the best reputation when it comes to data privacy this is a key step for the social platform.

A revamp of Messenger

Reflecting its increasing importance to Facebook, Messenger is essentially being rewritten from the ground up to make it ready for the planned merger with WhatsApp and Instagram. It will also become more off-device accessible with dedicated desktop apps for PC and Mac.

Virtual Reality (VR)

Facebook has been enthusiastically promoting the idea of VR for some time now and the F8 Conference showed just how much the social giant believes that VR is the future of computing. Oculus’s range of VR headsets will provide Facebook users with the opportunity to start exploring VR in their social media use. Latest versions of both the standalone and tethered headsets will be available from May this year and can be pre-ordered now to replace the older Oculus Rift.

Facebook is targeting dating

It may be a cynical attempt to harvest yet more data about individuals but there could also be some relevance for brands in Facebook’s foray into dating. The Facebook dating service has already been rolled out to five countries and will hit a further 10 over the coming months. Facebook is also on the verge of introducing a “Secret Crush” feature. This will enable users to name nine people within their friends that they have a crush on – and see if those people feel the same.

The expansion of Facebook Portal

Previously only available in the US, Facebook Portal is being rolled out into Canada and Europe too. This expansion is largely thought to be as a result of sales proving more positive than predicted. The Portal device will also get an upgrade that allows it to support Facebook Live and WhatsApp calls.

An upgrade to aesthetics and design

We are all used to the Facebook aesthetic but the main app is now due for a redesign, which was one of the measures announced at the F8 Conference. This will include some purely aesthetic changes, such as an altered logo and a redesign of some of the comment reacts, as well as more functional shifts based around more of a focus on Facebook Groups.

Facebook’s incoming changes are ambitious and clearly designed to take social media to the next level of growth. If your business relies on Facebook in any way it’s crucial to stay on top of its evolution, especially when it comes to identifying the opportunities that change could create.

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