Vincent Varney, 6 May 2019

The week in social: Facebook privacy, a new news feed, and hidden likes

Zuckerberg says “the future is private”

At Facebook’s annual F8 conference, CEO Mark Zuckerberg proclaimed that the social network would become a “privacy-focused social platform.” It’s a significant pivot from Facebook’s previous ambition of creating a virtual town square, undoubtedly coming off the back of the company’s ongoing controversies around data security and misinformation.

In a follow up on his personal Facebook page, Zuckerberg outlined a new goal of building “the digital equivalent of the living room, where you can interact in all the ways you’d want privately,” and stressed the importance of consulting experts to “[take] a more active role in making sure developers use our tools in good ways.

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Read more on Facebook

Facebook gets a new news feed

A major rework of Facebook’s News Feed is on the way. The redesign is centred around two of the most used features: Groups and events. The addition of a dedicated Groups tab will make it easier to find and interact with online communities, while the events section is being revamped with an emphasis on organizing your social calendar and seeing what’s happening in your neighborhood. The mobile redesign is rolling out on iOS and Android very soon, while the desktop version will be arriving in the coming months.

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Read more at Facebook Newsroom

Goodbye, anxiety: Instagram is testing hidden like counts

Instagram has officially started testing the removal of public like counts on photos and videos. The change, which is currently restricted to Canada, is an effort to encourage users to focus more on quality and less on popularity. Only the user who created a piece of content will be able to see the number of likes it has received.

Hiding likes has the potential to fundamentally change the social network. The concept of likes can boost one’s confidence and encourage more activity within the app, but it can also be a source of anxiety and self-esteem issues for many users. The change may be implemented globally if successful, though it’s not entirely clear how Instagram will measure the success.

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Read more at The Verge

YouTube drops paywall on premium content

The entire library of YouTube Originals is now available to all users, not just YouTube Premium members. This doesn’t mean the company is ditching its subscription model, though – instead, those who don’t want to pay will watch ad-supported versions of the once-exclusive programming. It’s seemingly a win for everyone involved – premium creators can share their work with a wider audience, paying customers still get ad-free viewing, and YouTube now has more ways to monetize its content.

Read more at the YouTube blog

Tinder is helping music lovers match at festivals

Dating app Tinder has launched Festival Mode, connecting singles attending the same music festival. Similar to the previously released Spring Break Mode, which launched in February, Festival Mode will use badges on user profiles to make it easier to spot those attending the same music festival as you. Why music festivals? Tinder says that app usage is 300 times greater during a music festival than on regular days. The feature has been launched in partnership with AEG Worldwide and Live Nation and is available in the U.K., U.S., and Australia.

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Read more at TechCrunch