Mark Zuckerberg reveals changes in Facebook Instagram and Whatsapp.

credit; FACEBOOK

The new designs and features for its apps are a direct response to widespread criticism of how the firm protects user data.

In a speech to developers, Mr Zuckerberg described the firm’s new focus on privacy as “a major shift” in how the company is run.

Some of the more visible changes to those who use the firm’s products will include:

Messages sent via Messenger will be end-to-end encrypted by default, meaning Facebook itself won’t see the contents, and the platform will be fully integrated with WhatsApp

Instagram is trialling a “private like counts” feature which would hide the “likes” a post attracts from viewers, but not the account owner

There will be more “ephemeral” ways to share content in messages – meaning there will not be a permanent record of them

A WhatsApp secure payment service trialled in India is to be rolled out to other countries later this year.

The Facebook app is being redesigned to make community groups central to the newsfeed – and the distinctive blue branding is going. The redesign is rolling out in the US and then more widely straight away.

Instagram posts will no longer have to start with a photo or a video, it will be possible to share content using just text, stickers or drawings thanks to a new “create” camera mode.

The design changes are the biggest refresh in around five years. It puts greater emphasis on groups and private interactions, encrypted messages that Facebook itself won’t be able to access.

Mark Zuckerberg made a brief mention about the company not having a good reputation on privacy right now – almost smirking as he said it. The company is working to regain trust, he insists.

At the same time it must show it continues to innovate even with all its bigger distractions. That’s perhaps the bigger risk to Facebook here: while it’s fixing its problems, competitors are working hard to gain ground.

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