SAN JOSE, California. (Reuters) – Facebook Inc debuted a revision of the core social network on Tuesday, taking the first concrete steps to refashion itself into a private-messaging and e-commerce company as it tries to move past the scandals during the tapping of new sources of income.
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg talks about privacy during his keynote address at Facebook Inc annual F8 developers conference in San Jose, California, USA, April 30, 2019. REUTERS/Stephen Lam
Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg unveiled a new design for the world’s largest social network that de-emphasizes the News Feed. Also dumped the signature of the blue banner on the app since its launch.
The new design shows Facebook’s app messages, online marketplace, and video-on-demand site, while giving more prominence to the popular photo-driven Stories feature.
The company has also rolled out features aimed at encouraging users to communicate with their immediate social circle and with companies, such as a “Secret Crush” option for Facebook Dating, and a tool for appointment booking.
“As the world gets bigger and more interconnected, we need that sense of intimacy more than ever. That is why I believe that the future is private. This is the next chapter of our services,” said Zuckerberg, speaking at Facebook’s annual F8 conference, where the company gives developers a look at products.
Investors greeted the announcements, usually start with a lower-margin businesses, with a lukewarm response. Facebook shares ended down 0.7 percent on Tuesday.
Zuckerberg, in March, promised changes in the advertising-driven social media company, which is under the legal control of propaganda on the platform and the violations of users ‘ privacy data.
He identified private messages, short stories and small groups as the fastest-growing areas of online communication. In the last three years, the number of people using Facebook is WhatsApp has almost doubled.
Building the more intimate and encrypted forms of communication can also reduce the pressure on Facebook to clean up misinformation and unlawful content. In the wake of the scandals, the company has spent heavily on the tools to catch prohibited material.
The social media company is now working on “LightSpeed” in to the Messenger app smaller and faster.
Facebook will also introduce a desktop version of Messenger for Mac and Windows, and the start of a feature called “Product Catalog” for WhatsApp Business. The desktop app will be available this fall.
Later this week, Facebook will perform a test in Canada for a major variation of the Instagram app, that would be the number of likes on the photos and video of the views of users of feeds permalink pages and profiles.
Facebook had delayed the rollout of certain products of last year’s F8 event, which came soon after the revelations, the illegal shared information of 87 million users with the Uk political consultancy firm Cambridge Analytica.
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“I know that we are not the strongest reputation on privacy right now, to see the light,” Zuckerberg said.
Other Facebook executives changes within the Messenger and Instagram apps that are focused on helping companies connect with customers, including appointments and a tool to lure customers in direct conversations with companies through ads.
The online ad market is largely dominated by Facebook and Alphabet, Inc. ‘ s Google. But the area is more diverse for messaging, e-commerce and payments, with big players like Amazon.com Inc, Microsoft Corp and eBay Inc, and fast-growing Silicon Valley unicorns, such as workplace messaging app Slack and video conferencing service Zoom Video Communications, Inc.
“We see that time and time again as a company that we have what it takes to evolve,” Zuckerberg said.
The shift also comes as Facebook is to look beyond the advertising for future revenue.
Facebook pulled in nearly $56 billion in revenue last year, almost all from the display of ads to the 2.7 billion people who have access to the family of apps per month.
But the company is no longer adding a lot of new users in the United States and Europe, the most lucrative markets, and the need to find additional sources of revenue if it is to sustain growth.
The product releases on the F8 key indicates that the answer has to do with efforts to users of its apps, for longer, in combination with e-commerce tools, Facebook hopes that businesses pay for the use.
Features that the most involvement of the user, such as Stories and videos, decked out with new tools and due to increased awareness about the platforms.
A new feature allows users to watch videos together in Messenger, while also watching each other’s reactions in the simultaneous text and video chats.
Facebook Dating will be expanded to 14 new markets, including places where Facebook has a high growth rate of the user. The “Secret Crush” feature, users can explore potential romantic relationships within their friend circle.
New shops and other business-to-consumer interactions, already popular in the Chinese social apps such as WeChat, can also help squeeze the revenue of Facebook messaging services.
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Instagram is the extension of a sales system was introduced last month, so public figures, well-known as influencers, to label products in their posts, so that fans can buy them right away.
Vendors at the Market will also be able to receive payments and arrange shipping directly within Facebook, while users of WhatsApp Messenger will be able to send money to each other, just as easy as sharing a photo, Zuckerberg said.
Reporting by Katie Paul in San Jose and Akanksha Rana in Bengaluru; Editing by Meredith Mazzilli and Lisa Shumaker