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Facebook is getting a face wash. Mark Zuckerberg is still debating about the rest.



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Facebook is getting a new face.

The "big blue" application of the company is in the process of redesign: the blue border icons will be replaced by an elegant white finish in the coming weeks and the service will be redesigned around groups and around private messages .

Symbol, redesign, which will be released at the annual conference of developers of Facebook in the heart of Silicon Valley, represents the desire of Facebook to present a new face to the world after years of problems.

But beyond this cosmetic change, CEO of Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg, is beginning to create answers of what will be the future for the social network giant, who also owns Instagram, WhatsApp and Messenger, used collectively by 2.7 million people around the world.

In an interview with The Washington Post on the eve of the conference, called F8, Zuckerberg said that he still weighed on how to respond to the criticisms and the potential regulation, the commitments between security and encryption and the future of the company's business. He talked about the reorientation of the company's services to fast-growing private messaging scenarios, but he recognized that it might take years before these changes were operational – even before people trusted in these efforts.

"The next five years, at least perhaps even in the next 10 years, are building private platforms with the wealth that public platforms have had so far," he said. "This has to be done with some different infrastructure and different policies, and to a certain extent different values, than when building these public spaces."

Facebook is moving more deliberately now, he said. The era of "fast moving and breaking" is over: a more cautious approach after crises such as the interference of the Russian elections, the direct transmission of massacres and suicides, and calls to break the social network for its lax approach to privacy

CEO of Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg, makes the main speech at F8, the Facebook developer conference. Photo / AP
CEO of Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg, makes the main speech at F8, the Facebook developer conference. Photo / AP

Zuckerberg knows that private messaging is catching a growing share of people's attention, a motivation to move the company in this direction. But Facebook has not yet discovered how to make money with this behavior. 91% of the company's revenues come from targeted advertising, from profiles linked to the information collected by people on people, including those that publicly publish on Facebook.

This information, valuable enough to make Facebook one of the richest companies in the world, can not be derived from the new encrypted services that Facebook is building, since encryption allows external users, including homeowners of encrypted services, to read messages This prevents targeted advertising and hinders Facebook's ability to hunt bad actors like Russian workers, acknowledged Zuckerberg. Facebook is the second largest advertising company in the world. Google, which reported Monday that reduced the growth of advertising, is the first.

Zuckerberg said he did not know how much the new Facebook focus on the encrypted messenger would win. But I was not worried. "I do not know how good a company is, but I'm sure it will be good and we'll be fine," he said in the interview.

Zuckerberg's comments reflected what has long been an obvious over the Internet: where the eyes of people go, the dollars will continue.

"I think people assume that much of the value comes from the data," he said. "What I have found is that, without a doubt, there is a reality, but I think that in the coverage there is, people underestimate the amount of value that comes from people's attention."

Its low importance of data was surprising, since Facebook trusts in this to boost their business.

The tenor of the F8 conference has reflected the challenges of Facebook. It is a buzzy meeting of thousands of engineers and other partners who build applications that use Facebook data for dating services, musical recommendations or to help their users to sign in with the Facebook access buttons of the company. Thousands of people usually fill a large auditorium in San José, where they applaud announcements of new associations and functions on things like the virtual reality headphones Oculus on Facebook and the development of new software infrastructures.

But in recent years, F8 has lost some momentum, as Facebook has increasingly restricted developer capabilities to access data, resulting from its business change and growing scrutiny of its business practices. privacy At the same time, the company's problems occupy as much attention as any of its product launches. Two years ago, Zuckerberg offered the condolences to the family of a man who had been issued by the video streaming platform of the Facebook Live company.

Last year, Zuckerberg announced a privacy tool called Clear History, which has not yet been released.

This year, Zuckerberg used his lecture to highlight the growing focus of private groups and encrypted messages, and detailed a vision to turn its conglomerate of applications into a single unified service that, although perhaps not more profitable, is 'he gets his parts. Each of these changes is quite abstract and, far from being operationalized, he acknowledged that Zuckerberg.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg says a new Messenger application is underway. Photo / AP
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg says a new Messenger application is underway. Photo / AP

The most tangible news of F8 will be the cosmetic change on Facebook itself, in "the great blue application", as it is known within the company. For billions of Facebook users, the blue par excellence that borders the top of the page is as synonymous with Facebook as the "com" button. This is the first great redesign of the application in five years, and will be launched on the mobile and on the desktop in the coming weeks.

Color change is part of a redesign that reflects the philosophical change of the company. Newsfeed, the feed offset of messages that have made Facebook with so many problems with false news and viral disinformation of Russia, will remain central when the user opens the application. But it is becoming much easier to change from it and move on to another type of experience, such as a private group. These groups are a part of Facebook where people really spend more time and continue to publish the kind of intimate information that few people enjoy sharing publicly as a status update.

And the great blue application: those that Americans and Europeans eliminate or diminish increasingly, according to the Facebook numbers themselves, will be less recognizable, a symbol of Facebook that wants to face the world. The redesign clears its busy interface with simpler tabs that allow people to quickly navigate to their Facebook Watch video entertainment service; to his copy of Craigslist, Marketplace; and for private groups. (Some of these features look a lot on the tabs of the Airbnb home reservation site.)

The redesigns are not always a clue of cloth. Early redesigns of technology products caused retreating, such as when Twitter introduced a new timeline or when Snapchat redesigned its application, causing complaints from users of the service.

Instagram, Messenger and WhatsApp also receive updates. Instagram will make the count of followers and "com" less relevant – to make the service feel "less pressed", according to its leader, Adam Mosseri. Messenger will be available in the desktop and soon people will be able to communicate between different Facebook applications.

The Facebook dating service, announced in F8 last year and still in the phase of birth, will add a feature called Secret Crush, in which users can select up to nine friends who are interested.

Behind the new face there are many urgent questions to which Zuckerberg had no immediate answers. He said he did not know if the unification of the services of the company would expose it to more critics than Facebook would have to break the calls to do it by the candidate to the democratic presidency Elizabeth Warren and others. Nor did I know if these calls to break Facebook were the right remedy for Facebook problems.

He said that the purchase of WhatsApp and Instagram on Facebook has given people more variety and options, not least, because the company has turboat the growth of these services since they were acquired for the first time. Focusing on specific solutions, such as improving the integrity of the elections, data portability and privacy, faced the "greatest concerns" of people who broke the company, he said.

And it had different advantages to the large size of Facebook, said Zuckerberg: last year, he said, the amount that the company spent on security was superior to the total revenue of Twitter.

With regard to political surveillance, Zuckerberg said he had considered it to be delivered completely. The tools allow policy advertisers to target people for demographics, postcodes and other interests. They were used by Russian agents, and critics have said that they allow political actors to psychologically exploit people. Zuckerberg acknowledged that the tool caused headaches, but said he finally came to the conclusion that they helped match the pitch for local politicians and smaller campaigns, and therefore were too valuable for to get rid of

At least five times in the interview, Zuckerberg said that he did not know nor had answer to a question, the admission of the desire of the company to evolve.

Zuckerberg said he did not know if Facebook could do a good job of monitoring the integrity of the elections or coping with abuse when he could no longer read messages but insisted that consumers would reward privacy at the end. I did not know if there was a lot of difference between her vision of privacy and what Apple CEO Tim Cook, another Facebook critic, has been adopting for several years. I did not know if the future encryption would be more profitable than the current one.

But, as Zuckerberg said, he trusts that everything will be fine.

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