Facebook’s developer conference has become a strange affair. Each year in April, the social network convenes a gathering dedicated to its sprawling platform in San Jose, California, for the thousands of companies, creators, and programmers that depend on it. The conference typically includes announcements for new features coming to Facebook’s suite of apps, along with updates on its more experimental efforts in virtual and augmented reality and artificial intelligence.
In recent years, the conference has been overshadowed by controversies related to data privacy, security, moderation, and other topics revolving around Facebook’s struggle to police its platform and reckon with its global influence. Last year, Facebook reportedly delayed the reveal of its Portal video chat device at F8 specifically because the optics of doing so in the wake of the Cambridge Analytica scandal would have resulted in a public relations disaster.
F8 has been overshadowed in recent years by Facebook’s controversies
This year is no different. F8 2019 kicks off today with a 1PM ET / 10AM PT keynote address that will feature opening remarks from CEO Mark Zuckerberg as well as a slew of announcements across its app ecosystem and its growing hardware efforts with Oculus and Portal. But Facebook just announced during its quarterly earnings report last week that it’s setting aside $3 billion for a potentially record-setting fine from the Federal Trade Commission over its privacy practices. The company is also still trying to figure out how to moderate its platform, despite the harmful toll moderation takes on its human contractors, and come up with better solutions to combat election interference, misinformation and fake news, and general misuse from malicious third parties.
That makes F8 a particularly interesting time to hear what Zuckerberg has to say, particularly around Facebook’s ambitious plan to transition to a privacy- and messaging-first service. It also helps set the tone for how the company positions its new products and features in an environment that’s grown increasingly hostile toward Big Tech and the ad-supported, data-harvesting models that have shaped the modern internet.
For those interested in tuning in to hear Facebook’s plans for the future and how it addresses its various scandals in a rare live forum, here’s how F8 2019 will be accessible online.
Where to watch:
Starting time: New York: 1PM / San Francisco: 10AM / London: 5PM / Berlin: 6PM / Moscow: 8PM / New Delhi: 10:30PM / Beijing: 1AM (May 1st) / Tokyo: 2AM (May 1st) / Melbourne: 4AM (May 1st)
Keynote live stream: Facebook will live stream the keynote address from its dedicated F8 website. There’s also a sign-up option to receive an email when the stream goes live and when recordings of the keynote and other popular sessions are made available. Alternatively, you can also watch on Facebook via the Facebook For Developers page, which is now hosting a dedicated F8 event.