Facebook (FB) held its annual F8 Developers Conference on Tuesday and announced a slew of updates to its main Facebook app, Instagram, WhatsApp and Messenger.
Those updates include: a dating app, Oculus’s standalone VR headset, the ability to clear your information from websites that use Facebook data and security updates.
‘This has been an intense year’
But before rolling out any new products, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg took the stage to address the various elephants in the room including user privacy, election meddling, fake news and hate speech.
“This has been an intense year,” he said. “I can’t believe we’re only four months in.”
In previous years, Facebook’s F8 has served as a kind of victory lap for the company, during which Zuckerberg and company touted the social network’s growth and influence. That, however, took a backseat to Facebook’s and Zuckerberg’s mea culpa.
Zuckerberg touched on how the company is working to solve its various internal and external problems including how it’s using artificial intelligence to find and take down fake accounts, adding transparency tools to political advertisements and putting 20,000 people to work on research and security by the end of the year.
Facebook’s new online dating platform
The CEO then went on to explain the new features the company is bringing to its various platforms. Zuckerberg also announced that Facebook is launching a new dating feature that will allow users to find “long-term” relationships via the social network. The app will be accessible through your Facebook profile and pull in your interests, but will otherwise be disconnected from your Facebook account.
This way your Facebook friends won’t see your dating activity and you won’t accidentally send a message to your date to your friend on Messenger.
New features for Instagram, Messenger and WhatsApp
The first feature Zuckerberg announced is called Clear History. Currently under development, Clear History will allow you to see what websites with Facebook plugins know about you and what they share with Facebook. You’ll also be able to delete that data and even turn off the sites’ ability to share your browsing habits.
Facebook is also adding a share ability to Facebook and Instagram Stories, which, if we’re being honest, only really matters for Instagram Stories since no one uses Facebook stories. Either way, you’ll soon be able to share items from other apps like Spotify in your stories. So if you’re listening to a song you love, you can share it on Instagram and then add the requisite stickers and text to personalize it.
Instagram and WhatsApp are also getting group chats, while Messenger is adding M Translations to Marketplace, so you’ll be able to sell items to individuals who speak different languages.
Finally, Facebook’s Oculus VR arm announced that its standalone Oculus Go headset is hitting the market Tuesday for $199. Yahoo Finance’s JP Mangalindan got to use the headset ahead of the news, and found it to be a decent device for VR newbies. Oculus also debuted a number of new virtual reality experiences that will be available later this year.
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