Browse all

How Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp are going to change

So Mark Zuckerberg likes privacy now?

How Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp are going to change So Mark Zuckerberg likes privacy now?

A rather strong wind of encroaching change has been blowing through the trees of social media over the last couple of years. Rustling up such leaves as issues of privacy and freedom and how these, in many ways, private and intimate realms of information have been used when given the gaze of large cooperations. There are some big changes underway according to Zuckerberg and we have a break down of them below, but is it too late?


The future is private

In 2010 Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg proclaimed that "the era of privacy was over" and that Facebook and other social networks would reflect this new reality. Fast forward to nine years later, with countless scandals and controversies regarding Facebook user's information, Zuckerberg has radically changed his mind. At F8, the annual conference organized for the developers of social media networks in San Jose,  Zuckerberg this time came out on stage with a very different proclamation behind him, "The future is private”. And with it, announcements of rather radical changes for the services and the applications under the Facebook company group, that beyond FB and their Messanger app, nowadays also includes Instagram and WhatsApp.

An interesting paradigm shift has also been seen occurring in the last decade. Where Facebook, when it blew up, became a case of being part of this greater digital community and that you were, in many ways, missing out on real life inclusions when opting not to sign up. It was a case of it being cool to be on and by became a part of this digital community within. 10 years later the exact opposite has occurred, nowadays pretty much everyone has a FB account and with a new generation seeing it as the platform that their parents use or even the first generation users having a bigger chance now of receiving a DM from the boss on your day off, instead of a Friend Request from that interesting new someone you met over the weekend. It has meant its appeal has dwindled and that it's also used now in an increasingly different way. More as a macro social calendar and news/interests organizer than a micro real-time social tool.

Zuckerberg's idea, encapsulated in his sentence of the future in private, is to adapt Facebook to the new way of how social networks are being used by their subscribers. In the same way that Instagram has evolved with the use of stories, many users now prefer to share their content with smaller groups of people, and in the fleeting moment of the 24h IG story, instead of making them visible to all friends/family/colleagues/strangers indeterminately via Facebook feeds. IG’s easy-of-use for exchanging comments and direct messages also means it's taking over many of the roles FB use to, especially for a new generation of youth.



Among the most popular applications in the world for exchanging messages, WhatsApp now has around 1.5 billion users regularly. The first Facebook group application to offer encrypted conversations and for a long time considered one of the safest messaging apps. After having acquired it in 2014, Facebook has worked to extend its functionality, without betraying the fundamental idea of protecting the confidentiality of the conversations on which it was built. With the western world also becoming increasingly cashless, Facebook has begun experimenting with a system to allow WhatsApp users to exchange small amounts of money. For the time being the function has been tested in India with about one million users, but in the coming months, it will be extended to all the users of the app. Something similar will also happen on Messenger and on Facebook, where users can buy products offered for sale by other members without having to rely on an external payment system, such as Paypal.

A clear trend that we’re seeing more and more of within the world of retail recently is the increasingly more invisible line between social media and retail. Both in the first hand and second-hand markets, there’s a growing interest and desire to buy things in smaller more manageable environments. Preferring for.ex to buy a pair of resale sneakers from (when possible) a more local source having a digital community personality that is trusted as appose to buying something from a more unascertained digital figure on the other side of the planet. WhatsApp will also start introducing the function more for retailers that want to make themselves available through the app. Where in addition to showing a map of where they are and opening hours, they can list and describe the products they offer in store.



IG will also expand its new feature to make purchases directly from within the app, a feature on which Facebook aims to make some money from individual transactions. As a follow up to their Checkout feature which started rolling out last month, where you can now add size and colorway to complete a purchase. IG is set to launch yet another new function allowing users to shop from their favorite influencers directly, to coincide with a particular release. So Instead of taking a screenshot or asking for product details in comments or DM, you will able to simply tap to see exactly what they are wearing and buy it straightaway via IG. Many new and upcoming brands have issues with getting direct purchases from their sites when a level of trust or strong customer history has yet to be established. Here the large visibility and social outreach of certain figures, that we feel a closer relation to, can help drive those sales in.

Instagram will also receive an update to the mechanism to create Stories. For example, it will be possible to publish them without having to start with an image or video made with the camera, and new creative effects will also be added. Instagram has received quite a bit of spotlight when it comes to detrimental health aspects that have been linked to using the app. Receiving criticism for generating too much pressure on users, especially in regards to counting "likes" and number of views stories.

Facebook has announced that it will experiment in Canada with a new system that hides the number of "Likes" in the main section of Instagram, the counts will instead only be visible to the respective account owners. If the test proves useful, and obviously without consequences for the performance of the advertisements on the application, it will be extended to other parts of the world, even if Facebook has not provided much other information than that at the current time. 


The future is retail

What remains to see is that even after all these changes, if the trust of Facebook can actually be rebuilt. With more and more original user leaving Facebook daily and newer users having already moved on to other platforms. It seems the future of the Facebook forum will remain in decline and go from once being the partner you loved dearly and updated daily on your thoughts and feelings, to a grim ex- that you only interact with a few times a year when holidays and birthdays require it. We've moved on to date the, fresher, younger Instagram without all the drama of the past and who will soon also even be able to buy us our favorite threads.