Facebook’s Privacy Moves

Why Groups and Messaging Were Front and Center at f8, and Other Takeaways for Marketers

Executive Summary

Facebook’s annual f8 conference is aimed at developers, but it included a range of announcements that will impact marketers as well. In this report, we go beyond the news and unpack what those announcements mean.

Will the future really be private for Facebook? Privacy was the word at f8, and CEO Mark Zuckerberg spent a lot of time trying to explain why and how. But given Facebook’s checkered privacy past and its multiple pivots, we’re not confident that all the changes discussed at the conference will actually come to fruition.

Why is the company emphasizing Groups, and where do ads fit in?

Putting Groups front and center makes it look like Facebook is putting its users’ privacy front and center. But Groups don’t contain ads, and it’s unclear whether they will in the future.

What changes are slated for Messenger?

Facebook introduced several features that show how messaging might evolve. One potential feature would let users see friend activity from all of Facebook’s apps in one Messenger feed. But the opportunities for advertisers have been slow to materialize.

How will Instagram’s new features affect retailers?

Creators will be able to tag their shopping posts and link directly to purchase via Instagram Checkout, bringing them closer to the purchase process and providing a new avenue for retailers to engage in social commerce.

Why didn’t we hear much about video and Facebook Watch?

f8 isn’t typically for video-related announcements. Facebook is moving forward with Watch, video chat and stories, but Facebook Live continues to be a major problem, as evidenced by the New Zealand terrorist attack.

What about augmented and virtual reality (AR and VR)?

Two new Oculus devices keep Facebook in the VR mix, but the overall market is still underdeveloped. Augmented reality is gaining more traction, and new tools for developers show Facebook is serious about making AR a more important part of its family of apps.

WHAT’S IN THIS REPORT? This report answers key questions for marketers about Facebook’s 2019 f8 developer conference.

KEY STAT: Consumers are less likely to trust Facebook with their personal information than Amazon or Google.

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Table of Contents

  1. Executive Summary
  2. Is the Future Really Private for Facebook?
  3. Why Is Facebook Putting Groups Front and Center?
  4. How Is Facebook Messenger Changing?
  1. Will Consumers Buy from Instagram Influencers?
  2. What About Video and Facebook Watch?
  3. What’s Up With Augmented Reality?
  4. Will Consumers Buy the New Oculus Devices?
  1. Key Takeaways
  2. Read Next
  3. Sources
  4. Media Gallery

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Debra Aho Williamson


Blake Droesch
Junior Analyst
Andrew Lipsman
Principal Analyst
Natalie McGranahan
Senior Researcher and Taxonomy Manager
Nicole Perrin
Principal Analyst