Duel of the F8s – Do Not Read Until Monday

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Duel of the F8s – Facebook attempts balance between platform health and innovation

Though previous editions may have had a more Endor-post-victory vibe, sadly sans Ewoks, Facebook’s annual F8 developers conference seemed a more subdued affair this year. That tracks too, as the company had a lot of ground to cover correcting mistakes of its past, and making good on promises to be more privacy-focused and attuned to the spread of harmful content on its platforms.

CEO Mark Zuckerberg previously explained the company’s pivot to privacy in a Facebook Note (duh), so F8 was largely about the medium Facebook hopes will help them realize this goal: Messaging.

And, yes, he also joked at his company’s abysmal record.

Pretty much a success out of the gate (well, almost) thanks to its status as both fun and mandatory, Messenger has been the company’s least-controversial app in recent years. So, unsurprisingly, it’s going to lean into Messenger. The mobile app will get streamlined for a reduced size, and Facebook hopes to roll out desktop apps later this year.

Facebook will also look to rebuild ̶t̶h̶e̶ ̶D̶e̶a̶t̶h̶ ̶S̶t̶a̶r̶ its main app to focus more on events and groups – which have an interesting commonality: They are both relatively closed networks. And since they are generally user-created, they are self-policing as well. While this could be a double-edged sword – closed communities could make it harder for 3rd-parties to monitor potentially dangerous activity – it does lessen the *visibility* of misinformation and so forth on the platform.

It’s also trying to make Instagram a healthier environment as well – with the possible banishment of public-facing post likes. Oh yeah, and the camera’s getting redesigned.

Oculus, it hopes will be a hit for business use.

Of course, there was a bit of bantha fodder in there as well – the weird listing a crush on Facebook thing (Not. Gonna. Happen.), and its insistence we need Portal.

Hear me out: why Facebook shopping & payments could be its saving grace

But … there is A New Hope, or maybe a kinda old hope for Facebook and its various slithering Sarlacc-esque tentacles. By edging further into commerce on Instagram, a platform that seemingly exists to make people envy each others’ possessions, meals or travels, the company could lessen its dependence on taking sketchy ad money. And, if it comes up with a reasonable crypto-whatever payment platform, that could lower dependence even further. Granted, things could go horribly wrong with each of those offerings…

Odds + The End

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