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 along a stream of scandals, while tapping into 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, and demonstrated his messaging app, online marketplace, and video-on-demand site.
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.
Zuckerberg, in March, promised changes in the advertising-driven social media company, such as under legal control over propaganda on the platform and the users of the privacy of data. Facebook’s News Feed continues to draw ad dollars, but the user growth in its most lucrative markets is delayed.
“We believe that there is a community for everyone. So we have been working on a big step forward to make communities as central as friends,” said Zuckerberg Tuesday, speaking at Facebook’s annual F8 conference, where the company gives developers a look at new product releases.
Zuckerberg 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.
The social media company is now working on “LightSpeed” in to the Messenger app smaller and faster.
Facebook will also be the introduction of Messenger for Mac and Windows, and the start of a new feature called “Product Catalog” for WhatsApp Business. The desktop version of Messenger is available this autumn.
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 now-defunct British political consulting firm Cambridge Analytica.
“I know that we are not the strongest reputation on privacy right now, to see the light,” Zuckerberg said on Tuesday.
Other Facebook executives changes within the Messenger and Instagram apps that are focused on helping companies connect with customers, including appointments and improved shopping features as a tool to lure customers in direct conversations with companies through ads.
- Facebook the updated app, rolling dating service to 14 countries
The online ad market is largely dominated by Facebook and Alphabet, Inc. ‘ s Google. But by focusing more on messaging, e-commerce, payment and enterprise-targeted tools, Facebook will also need to battle the likes of Amazon.com Inc, Microsoft Corp and as a rapidly growing Silicon Valley unicorns, such as workplace messaging app Slack.
“We see that time and time again as a company that we have what it takes to evolve,” Zuckerberg said.
Facebook shares were trading down 0.3 percent on Tuesday.
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 Facebook 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 in Asia such as the Philippines, where Facebook has a high growth rate of the user. The “Secret Crush” feature, users can explore potential romantic relationships within their friend circle.
The company is also the court companies, allowing them to ways to chat with customers and perform transactions, similar to the way that consumers in China are already shopping on services such as WeChat.
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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 receive payments and arrange shipping directly within Facebook.
Reporting by Akanksha Rana in Bengaluru; Editing by Meredith Mazzilli