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Facebook needs fixing. Zuckerberg uses F8 to lay out his answer – CNET

Mark Zuckerberg wants to remake Facebook.

James Martin

Mark Zuckerberg gets it. He understands that people increasingly don't trust Facebook with their information. He sees that we increasingly look at his company with distrust.

"I know that we don't exactly have the strongest reputation on privacy right now, to put it lightly," he said with an awkward grin.

But he promises things are going to change.

While on stage at Facebook's annual F8 developer conference in San Jose on Tuesday, Zuckerberg spoke of how his company will reform into a privacy-focused and secure service with "simple, intimate spaces where you have complete confidence that what you say and do is private and and clear control over who you're communicating with."

"This is about building the kind of future that we want to live in," he said. And the company's new mantra will reflect that: "The future is private."

Facebook needs fixing. Zuckerberg uses F8 to lay out his answer     - CNET

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The moves mark Facebook's latest efforts to find a way out of the years-long scandals that have engulfed the company. Between privacy gaffes and data leaks like the one involving Cambridge Analytica, concerns have arisen about free expression and about corporate malfeasance among Zuckerberg and his management team. Each new screwup raised the question of whether we can trust Facebook.

So far, people voting with their time and attention say yes. Facebook's count of people who log in at least once a month continues to grow, hitting 2.38 billion at the end of March, or one out of every three people on the planet. The company's sales continue to rise as well, hitting more than $15 billion in March, up 26 percent from the same time a year earlier.

Mark Zuckerberg mapped out Facebook's new efforts at the company's F8 developer conference.

James Martin/CNET

But outside the world of Wall Street, the pressure is amping up. Governments around the world are beginning to investigate Facebook and are looking to regulate the 15-year-old social media giant. In the UK, the government is considering installing its first internet safety czar, with power to punish Twitter, Google and Facebook for bad behavior. Australia and New Zealand are mulling a ban on "weaponized social media." In the US, the Federal Trade Commission is weighing a potential $5 billion fine against Facebook for its mishandling of users' data.

For Zuckerberg, whose goal last year was to effectively fix Facebook, the problems are only continuing to mount.

"I get that a lot of people think we're not serious about this," Zuckerberg said. "This is the next chapter."

Meet the new Facebook, same as the old Facebook

In an effort to focus where Facebook is headed, the company deluged conference goers with both new initiatives and updates on existing ones.

The social network is expanding its dating service, launched last year, to 14 more countries including Vietnam, Singapore, Brazil and Chile. The US, the company said, will get it later this year.

Facebook's also expanding its Craigslist-like Marketplace service to make it easier for people to pay one another and ship their goods too. And it's refocusing its core app on groups and stories, the ephemeral in-the-moment posts that disappear from Instagram and Facebook a day after they're published.

The company even announced preorders for its latest virtual reality headsets from its Oculus VR division, which it purchased in 2014 for more than $2 billion. The Oculus Quest and Rift S, both $399, represent the company's next-generation headsets, and the latest sign Zuckerberg continues to bet on the future despite how mired in the present he is.

Facebook needs fixing. Zuckerberg uses F8 to lay out his answer     - CNET

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Perhaps most dramatic, though, will be a new look for Facebook, coming later this year. The new site will have a more minimalist appearance, which makes today's Facebook seem cluttered and stale. The new look is much more akin to a simple mobile app with a lot of unused space on the screen and bigger icons to click.

"This is the sum of hundreds of details rather than just a few major changes," Zuckerberg said. In other words: It's not just a new coat of paint. But if Zuck and Co. have a vision of where they want Facebook to go, these changes are still baby steps toward that better future.

"I believe that we should be working to build a world where we can be ourselves, and where we can live freely knowing that our private moments are only going to be seen by the people," he added. "It we work hard and deliver this vision today, I'll be proud of the difference we've made."

Facebook needs fixing. Zuckerberg uses F8 to lay out his answer     - CNET

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