Technology: On the occasion of its annual conference F8, Facebook has multiplied ads on its services and products. But the Cambridge Analytica scandal has gone by, pushing the social media giant to adjust its strategy to offer better data protection.
Facebook’s recent F8 conferences were an opportunity for the social network to become a major player in the American tech ecosystem alongside Google and Apple. Facebook had used this conference to put before its ecosystem of developers as well as its innovations in terms of hardware. And like the big ones, Facebook must now also face criticism of the resounding scandals that have targeted the social network in recent months.
The elephant in the conference room
During his opening lecture, Mark Zuckerberg preferred to broach controversial topics from the introduction. The leader took the opportunity to announce several announcements to reassure users. Facebook will offer a new feature called “Clear History”: “This feature will allow you to see which applications and sites access your Facebook data when you use them, delete this information and block the possibility to third parties. ‘access to this data,’ says Erin Egan, director of privacy at Facebook.
The social network specifies that the functionality is not yet available and it will be necessary to wait “several months” before seeing it appear on the social network. For now, it still seems like a simple project and executives say they are meeting several experts in data protection to develop this feature at best.
This attention to data protection will also apply to developers: Mark Zuckerberg has announced that it will again be possible to offer applications via Facebook. The process of proposing new applications had been frozen after the revelations of the Cambridge Analytica scandal, but many audits were conducted by Facebook and the service should work again from today. New, tighter, approval rules are taking effect, however: applications that now want to access some specialized APIs will need prior approval from Facebook.
Zuckerberg had a few words about Whatsapp’s CEO, Jan Koum: he announced earlier this week that he was leaving the management of the messaging application due to differences with Facebook over encryption issues. Mark Zuckerberg praised “an activist for the protection of personal data” through which the social network has managed to set up the “largest encrypted communication network in the world.” Not sufficiently encrypted in the eyes of Jan Koum.
Facebook would like to drown the fish
To try to forget the controversy, Facebook nevertheless relies on new features: this is how the social network has announced its intention to embark on the online dating industry by offering a dedicated feature. This will create a profile entirely for meetings and separate from its “classic” profile. The subject seems to have been closely studied: this new profile will include the possibility of using text-only messaging.
Facebook continues on the virtual reality trail, initiated with the purchase of the Oculus Rift helmet designer. Thus Instagram is endowed with the support of applications in augmented reality: the contents and applications created thanks to AR studio can now be shared via Instagram. Messenger is also beginning to prepare to integrate these new features, with the first beta for developers who want to design AR content for Messenger. Finally, the conference was also an opportunity for Facebook to formalize the launch of the new Oculus Go headset, a commercial VR headset marketed from 219 euros.