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Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg placed a big emphasis on video during the opening keynote address at the tech giant’s annual F8 developer conference in San Francisco on Wednesday.
In Facebook’s early days, users shared primarily text content, Zuckerberg told the audience. Today, they share mostly photos. “Fast forward five years, it’s going to be video,” he said. “If you look out even further, it will be more immersive content like AR and VR.”
During the speech, Zuckerberg announced that Facebook has opened up its Messenger app into a platform so that third-party developers can build out new features and services for it. There are already 40 new apps available for Messenger, including sports GIFs from ESPN, personalized emoji from Bitmoji and Hollywood effects from Action Movie FX, an app created by J.J. Abrams‘ Bad Robot.
Zuckerberg also announced some updates to its video product. Facebook video will soon add capabilities for 360-degree videos in the News Feed. In addition, Facebook has created an embeddable video player so that people can post Facebook-native videos anywhere on the web much like YouTube’s player, which has been key to driving views of videos first posted to the Google-owned video platform.
Facebook has been placing an emphasis on video in recent months, adding a play counter to show how many views videos are getting and rolling out autoplay videos in the News Feed. The company now says that it sees more than 3 billion native video views a day.
As Facebook video grows, online content creators have started to take notice. YouTube network Fullscreen on Wednesday announced that it has created a new tool that makes it easier for its creators to post videos directly to Facebook’s video player. The Fullscreen Uploader allows creators to post videos to Facebook and YouTube at the same time, cutting out some of the extra work for YouTubers.
During a presentation on Facebook video later in the day, video product management director Fidji Simo said that the company sees people watching video for three reasons: to connect, to relax or to catch up.
She further elaborated that the growth of Facebook video is being driven by mobile, which accounts for 65 percent of all video views. “That’s mostly because everyone now has a recording device in their pocket,” she explained.
When taking questions from the audience, she was asked about the timeline for allowing content creators to make money off their videos. And while she wouldn’t give a date that creators could expect to see a widespread rollout of a monetization feature, she did say it is something Facebook is exploring. “We’ve started experimenting in the space,” she said, referencing the partnerships that Facebook has created with sports leagues such as the NFL. “It’s very, very early. To a certain extent, this is a space that we will have to take slowly because we want to have the best possible user experience.”
March 25, 1:55 p.m. Updated to add additional comments about Facebook video.
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