Facebook's F8 Developers Conference: 3 Key Things to Watch For - TheStreet

Facebook's annual developer conference starts tomorrow, and it promises to be a significant one.

The annual conference, known as F8, kicks off on Tuesday -- and it's the first one since Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced his plan to reinvent the social network as a "privacy-focused" platform in early March. It also comes just a week after Facebook announced robust first-quarter earnings, and also that it was setting aside $3 billion to pay for an expected FTC fine over its mishandling of user data. Facebook (FB) - Get Report shares were up 0.2% to $195.02 on Tuesday and are up almost 50% this year. 

Zuckerberg will be giving the two-day conference's keynote speech on Tuesday at 1 p.m. ET/10 a.m. PT.

On the company's recent earnings call, Zuckerberg told investors that privacy will be a "central focus for the company for the next five years or longer," but that the new platform focus has a "strong foundation" in WhatsApp and Messenger. "I'll share a little bit more at F8 next week in terms of the product roadmap and what we expect to see on this," he added.

There's a lot we don't know about Facebook's privacy plans -- or how it will affect their business -- so here's a look at what we might see at F8 this week.

1. Messenger for Business

The F8 conference features a number sessions focused on how Messenger, Facebook's main chat product, can better serve businesses on Facebook. They range from leveraging Messenger for omni-channel retail and in-app commerce, to using marketing tools to expand businesses' presences across Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp and Messenger. Recently, Facebook also announced newer initiatives such as Checkout on Instagram, which allows users to buy products directly within the app. F8 could help shed some light on what has in mind for commerce, payments or other tools for businesses.  

2. Oculus and Instant Games

Oculus isn't just for virtual reality gaming, according to Facebook. A portion of F8 will focus on how enterprises can use Oculus headsets to drive productivity, along with sessions showing developers how to build experiences with that goal in mind. Facebook's Instant Games, which are in-app games played within Messenger, also plays a role throughout the conference, with sessions getting developers up to speed on building and monetizing games specifically for Facebook. 

3. Fighting Social Media Fatigue

Zuckerberg has said that he hopes to turn Facebook into a more private "living room" experience rather than the "digital town square" he initially envisioned when he founded Facebook. That notion will also be addressed at F8 through sessions focused on what Facebook friendships teach developers about "social connectedness," as well as building products to improve the wellness of users.

Among the many criticisms lodged against Facebook over the years is that it has a corrosive effect on mental well-being. Under Facebook's new privacy-focused regime, the company will no doubt make the case that a "living room" model is healthier one. 

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