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Last Week Online #20 – Changes are coming. And another IPO.

Anna Loverus
Anna Loverus
3 min read

Facebook debuts a new look and shines the spotlight on groups

Facebook's F8 developer conference took place last week, and Mark Zuckerberg (CEO and founder) revealed a new look for the platform on both mobile and on desktop. This will arguably be the most drastic change to Facebook's website since the company introduced the timeline in 2011.

The new design is predominately white and intended to be simpler, more streamlined, and easier to navigate. The Facebook icon will also be changing, to be "a bit more lively and modern""according to Zuckerberg. And on top of the new design, the company is re-writing the code for its website and app from scratch to make them faster.

With the new redesign, there will be an emphasis on groups. Within the Facebook universe, groups are where people are the most active. More than 400 million people are part of "meaningful groups," on Facebook, Zuckerberg said, and groups are also where the company has been focusing much of its attention the last couple of years. According to Zuckerberg, the goal is to make "communities as central as friends" to the Facebook experience.

Instagram might soon hide your likes, but the British are behind it

With a lot of debate going on about Instagram's effect on teenagers, the company is trying out new ways of looking more responsible. This week, the company started running tests in Canada that hide "likes" from everyone but the owner of an account. "We are testing this because we want your followers to focus on the photos and videos you share, not how many likes they get," a spokesman said.

This is also a reaction to new regulation from the British Information Commissioner's Office who suggest that social media networks could avoid an outright ban on "likes" if they stop collecting personal data when children engage with them. Therefore, Facebook and Instagram could face limits on letting under-18s "like" posts on their platforms while Snapchat could be prevented from allowing the age group to build up "streaks".

The goal is to restrict children from being exposed to so-called "nudge techniques", and the ICO advocates internet firms make several changes for their younger users. For instance, privacy settings should be "high" by default, location-tracking should be switched off by default after each session, and it should be visible when it had been activated. It should also be clear if parental controls, such as activity-tracking, are being used.

Firms that do not comply with the code could face fines of up to 20 million euros or 4% of their worldwide turnover under the General Data Protection Regulation if the suggested ICO regulation comes into place.

Slack is the next tech start-up in line for an IPO

The workplace messaging start-up Slack, revealed the details of its business on Friday as it joined the cavalcade of tech companies planning to go public this year. Slack, which has grown out of a video game company into a popular way for workers to communicate, is trying to become a substitute for e-mail.

For the first time, Slack shared their financial results widely, in an offering prospectus, declaring it had collected $400.6 million in revenue last year (well, previous fiscal year, which ended January 31st). That was nearly double to the last fiscal year. Still, Slack lost $140.7 million in the latest fiscal year, reducing its losses from $180.9 million the year before.

Slack also reported 88 000 paying customers at the end of the last year, up almost 50% from the year before that. Among those customers, 575 spent more than $100 000 for their subscriptions, accounting for about 40% of the revenue.

Tool of the week: Jumbo

Jumbo is a privacy assistant for Iphone, helping you manage your privacy on Facebook, Google Search, Twitter, Alexa – and soon Tinder and Instagram. It's still pretty early to tell whether this will really work. But the idea is to become a universal interface to manage all your privacy needs in one place.

Jumbo are trying to making it easy to choose privacy, partly by helping you clean up what's already shared, and partly by managing settings going forward. It can take hours to delete old tweets and Facebook photos – a problem Jumbo is trying to solve.

Last Week Online

Anna Loverus Twitter

Thinker and doer. Loves running, wine, and human behaviour.


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