Facebook will host its ninth developer conference today. However, this year’s Facebook F8 will be a lot different from last year, considering the situation that the social networking giant currently is in. Not to mention, CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s two-day Congressional testimony.
Over the past year or so, Facebook has been embroiled in scandals. The most recent one was the Cambridge Analytica controversy, which raised questions over the way Facebook manages data privacy. It was the Cambridge Analytica controversy that lead to Zuckerberg’s two-day Congressional testimony.
So, now all attention is on what Facebook is doing. Thus, Facebook F8 will serve as a perfect platform for Facebook and the rest (public, regulators, experts and more) to know exactly what the social networking giant is doing in the aftermath of one of the biggest scandals that it has been involved in. For Facebook, the developer conference will be an opportunity to do some damage control, and also show the world that it cares for user privacy, something that is needed on an urgent basis.
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It won’t be a surprise if Facebook F8 revolves around the efforts that the company would be undertaking to prioritize user privacy at all levels. The first of such efforts could be updating the company’s privacy measures. It would complement the EU’s upcoming General Data Protection Rules (GDPR), which enhances the present privacy laws.
Traditionally, for the developers, Facebook F8 has been a place where they learn of new ways to exploit user data. However, since Facebook is limiting the access to the user data following the recent scandals, it will be interesting to see what the company has to offer to the developers this time to keep them motivated.
In the past, developers have gotten encouragement from Facebook in one way or another, like a new developer platform, API changes or services like internet.org. This year, however, it’s very different. And, any favor to the developers that compromise user data will be heavily used against Facebook, something that the company can’t afford right now.
In March, the social networking giant told developers in an update that its restrictive data rules are “not easy” and that it still needs to balance these with the “broader developer ecosystem.” So, at Facebook F8, we can expect a detailed explanation from the company on how its new data rules will work out in practice.
“These changes can be disruptive. But Facebook developers are incredible partners and help us ensure the platform enables experiences that are both social and safe,” said Ime Archibong, Facebook’s vice president for product partnerships, in an email, according to The Verge.
Meanwhile, the official schedule of Facebook F8 suggests a few more areas that the company is planning to pitch to the developers. First is virtual reality, where the company wants the developers to develop more applications for its Oculus platform. Also, the social networking giant will want some work on the gaming front as well, along with the Workplace (Facebook version for businesses).
Facebook F8 is not only about developers, so we can also expect to hear of Facebook’s investment in other related areas, such as in augmented reality, global internet access and consumer hardware. Earlier, there were reports that the company would announce its smart speaker at the F8. However, after the Cambridge Analytica scandal, the company reportedly shelved the plans.
In February, Facebook’s vice president of AR and VR, Andrew Bosworth, tweeted that F8 2018 would see “the biggest AR/VR news from Facebook to date.” According to the event schedule, about ten developer sessions will be used for the AR, VR, and “immersive video” at the conference. The company could also make some announcements regarding live and original video. Over the past few months, the company has also been investing in its Watch platform.
Apart from the Facebook platform, the social networking giant could also provide updates on its other social platforms like Instagram, Whatsapp and Messenger. The company could reveal the latest user numbers for these platforms, along with the upcoming features.
Facebook claims it will be the biggest F8 ever with over 50 sessions and 5,000 attendees. Facebook F8 will kick off with Zuckerberg’s keynote in just a few hours at the San Jose McEnery Convention Centre. You can live stream the keynote on its dedicated F8 website and also on Facebook Live here.