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Facebook F8 2019: Mark Zuckerberg to address privacy concerns

Privacy to take centre stage at Facebook’s developer-focused F8 conference which kicks off today. From integration of WhatsApp, Facebook and Instagram to new cryptocurrency, here’s what to expect.

tech Updated: Apr 30, 2019 19:03 IST
Kul Bhushan
Kul Bhushan
Hindustan Times
Facebook F8 2019,Facebook F8 2018,Facebook Conference 2019
Zuckerberg will kick off Facebook’s annual F8 developer conference Tuesday, April 30, 2019, with what are expected to be more details about his new “privacy-focused” vision for the social network.(AP)

A lot has happened since Facebook’s F8 developer conference last year. From a spate of privacy breaches to increased concerns over spread of fake news on the platform, Facebook has had to battle through a range of controversies. This year’s Facebook F8 developer conference is expected to focus on users’ privacy and security.

Facebook’s F8 conference will kick off today at 10AM PT (10.30PM IST). The conference will continue till May 1.

Since the beginning of this year, Mark Zuckerberg has hinted at revamping the social networking platform to win users’ trust. This includes shifting focus to private messaging and encryption. Zuckerberg has already confirmed plans to integrate all of its messaging services, Instagram, Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp. While these applications will continue to function as standalone applications, Facebook may create a mechanism to easily relay message from one app to another.

“Messaging is an area that’s growing the most quickly. And this year, people are going to feel these apps becoming the center of their social experience in more ways. We’re going to roll out Payments on WhatsApp in some more countries. Private sharing in Groups and Stories will become more central to the experience. We’re going to onboard millions of more businesses that people can interact with,” Zuckerberg said during Facebook’s Q4 2018 earnings call.

Just ahead of its developer conference, Facebook banned personality quiz applications on its platform. It may be recalled Cambridge Analytica had used a personality quiz to harvest data of millions of users.

Machine Learning

Facebook is betting big on Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence. From identifying fake news to revenge porn, Facebook has infused ML and AI in most of its services. The technology evidently hasn’t been very effective. One of the recent examples is livestreaming of New Zealand mosque shooting. The company claimed that none of the 200 or so people who watched live video of the New Zealand mosque shooting reported the video. Facebook said it removed the video “within minutes” after it was reported. Zuckerberg and his team are expected to announce new ML and AI-based tools.

Virtual Reality

After taking over Oculus, Facebook has made giant strides in the virtual reality segment. Since last year’s F8 conference, Facebook has launched multiple Oculus VR gears. Just recently, it introduced Oculus Rift S with support for higher resolution display and improved optics. Expect Facebook to announce new milestones in VR.

Cryptocurrency

Will we finally see the much-awaited cryptocurrency Facebook has been working on? With Facebook already setting up a blockchain division, the social networking giant is said to be working on its own cryptocurrency for WhatsApp. According to recent reports, Facebook’s blockchain-based cryptocurrency will be aimed at the remittances market in India. It’s unlikely Facebook will embrace bitcoins but it’s expected to introduce a more reliable stablecoin.

First Published: Apr 30, 2019 17:47 IST