Video Taking Lead Role at Facebook

Prioritizing ‘video first’ strategy across family of apps
Facebook Live 2.jpg

Though mobile continues to be a source of strength at Facebook, the social media giant and VR pioneer said video is becoming increasingly central to its strategy.

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Amid a trend in which consumers are creating and sharing more video, Facebook is “prioritizing putting video first across our family of apps,” company CEO Mark Zuckerberg said on Wednesday’s earnings call.

Drilled down that includes Facebook Live, which has seen adoption by users grow by four times since May, he said, while also talking up Instagram Stories, a “lightweight” video capability launched in August, and the platform’s push toward 360-degree video.

Though the text box is still the main way consumers share, “soon, we believe, a camera will be the main way that we share,” Zuckerberg said. “We're already testing this in our main Facebook app with a version that has a camera, directly just one swipe away from News Feed.”

Zuckerberg also talked about Video Home, which is being tested in a few markets ahead of an anticipated wider rollout.

Facebook is also amplifying its focus on AI, which has become a core area for companies such as Apple, Microsoft and Google. Zuckerberg said the company now has more than 40 teams and more than 25% of its engineers using AI to underpin the products they’re building. He said AI is being used to filter out “misleading clickbait stories” on Facebook’s News Feed and “to help find terrorist propaganda” on the platform.

“It's still early, but we think that AI will help improve the quality of what people see and can share on our platform,” he said.

As for virtual reality, he reiterated that that Oculus will start shipping controllers for the Rift in early December, along with 35 games for that capability.  Facebook has also earmarked another $250 million for VR content.

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