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Credit: Facebook

Last week 3Q Digital’s VP of Social, Brad O’Brien, and Director of Social, Mike Stetzer, represented our team at the annual Facebook F8 developer conference. The two days were packed with new launches, updates, and roadmap goals. From Brad and Mike’s copious notes and insights, we’ve put together our list of the top things to know from this year’s F8.

Data Privacy, Fake News, and Online Harassment

It’s no surprise that Mark Zuckerberg started out the event by addressing some recent top-of-mind topics. In an extension of previously announced new data policies spurred by the news of Cambridge Analytica, Facebook will be launching additional features to allow users to have greater control over their information and who has access to it.

A Clear History functionality, which clears a user’s cookies and Facebook activity history, will be available this year. This ability comes with the caveat that if a user clears his/her history, the Facebook algorithm will need time to adjust, and thus the user might see some non-relevant content on his/her News Feed. Facebook will continue to reassess all apps and data requests that occurred prior to the data policy update in 2014 to ensure that no other organizations have abused their policies. Additional updates to their app review process were also announced to verify that any apps requesting certain API permissions abide by the terms of use.

To aid in the effort to identify and shut down fake accounts, the company will be adding 20,000 additional staff by the end of the year specifically for this task. The platform will be instituting relevant context and references for all articles, so that users can see what other publications have reported on the story. Users will also be able to down-vote content if they believe it to be fraudulent.

Last year Facebook announced Crisis Response to allow users to get information about recent crises, access Safety Check, Fundraisers, and Community Help. A new feature rolling out this year will allow people affected by a crisis to share “firsthand accounts of timely information, like road closures and damage photos and videos, making it easier to get real-time updates.”1

As part of their initiative to build out useful functionalities while keeping users safe, Facebook announced an expansion of their Instagram anti-bullying initiative that will help filter out harassing comments on users’ posts.

Big Roadmap Items

Bringing people together has been a focus of the company for some time and the new Watch Party and Facebook Dating features will help fuel it. Watch Party will allow users to bring friends together virtually to watch any public video on the platform as a “shared video experience.” Facebook Dating feels like a natural extension of Facebook’s platform – in fact, popular dating apps like Bumble and Tinder already use a Facebook integration to allow users to fill out their dating profiles. Facebook Dating will be opt-in only, exist as a separate profile, and will only allow non-connections to be shown as possible matches for a user. 

Credit: Facebook

Messaging in the Facebook universe is also getting a boost. Facebook Messenger will get a facelift to operate cleaner and faster, as well as some swanky new AR camera effects, and stronger translation abilities. WhatsApp and Instagram will both be adding group video chatting.

Messenger and chatbots will continue to be big for brands advertising on Facebook. 300K chatbots are already live on Messenger, many helping with customer service. Brands that are looking to share incentives/coupon codes, announce specific sales, and expand awareness are flocking more and more to Messenger for these abilities.

App Store Ads are getting a great new functionality with Playable Ads (currently in closed Beta) for game apps. In 2017, over 50% of all ad spend in the store used video in the creative. Facebook is going one step further by allowing a user to be able to try out a game using a playable ad, before downloading. This will give gaming brands the unique ability to immerse users in the experience of their apps and prove their value.

AI and Augmented and Virtual Reality

AI will continue to be a big investment for Facebook. Integrating AI into their processes has already helped remove millions of fake accounts, and proactively block offensive content such as hate speech and terrorist propaganda messages. AI has also been extremely useful when it comes to sophisticated language translations, as well as natural language processing for determining what users are searching for and providing them with recommendations.

Last, but certainly not least, augmented and virtual reality were big topics on day 2. Facebook launched the first standalone VR headset by Oculus – the Oculus Go. In fact, all guests received one (Brad and Mike both give it two big thumbs up)! The Oculus Go has over 1,000 apps, games, and experiences available and will retail for $199 USD. Facebook believes that Oculus Go will appeal to a wider audience because it does not require a cellphone to be used.  New experiences for the Oculus – like Oculus Venus (for live social events, like concerts and sports in VR) and Oculus Rooms (let’s friends play games/watch movies/etc together in VR) were also launched/redesigned.

 

Interested in using some of the new features or learning more about the updates announced at F8? Want to hear more about how changes will affect advertisers? Contact our social team.

 

1. https://newsroom.fb.com/news/2018/05/f8-2018-day-1/