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Facebook turns Messenger into a shopping platform and app store

Caitlin McGarry | March 26, 2015
The social network is changing the way you install apps, shop, and watch videos with new tools for developers.

The network is also changing the way you interact with articles on news sites when you're logged in to a site's comment system with your Facebook ID. Many news orgs now require a Facebook login to comment on an article in hopes that the lack of anonymity will cut down on trolls. Soon comments you make on articles posted to Huffington Post, BuzzFeed, Fox Sports, BET, and other Facebook-integrated sites will show up as comments below those same articles when they're posted to Facebook. All of your Facebook friends will be able to see exactly what you think about Ted Cruz running for president or Taylor Swift's new music video when you spout off in the comments section. The tool is currently in beta for a limited number of partner sites.

And apps will soon make it easier for you to share content to Facebook, Messenger, and Groups with a new Share Sheet, but there's no word on when that feature is coming.

Changes to social plugins and sharing tools only affect people who use their Facebook logins to use apps, but more than 80 percent of the top apps on iOS and Android use Facebook login, so

News Feed's virtual worlds
Day one of F8 teased news to come about Oculus, the virtual reality company Facebook acquired last year. The VR startup is working on a headset called Rift, which is known mostly for its virtual gaming potential, but Facebook has bigger plans.

We expect to see more social applications for Rift on Thursday, but Facebook doesn't want to make those experiences Rift-exclusive. The network is bringing virtual worlds into your News Feed with new spherical videos that will transport you to far-away destinations without leaving Facebook.

"It's a bit futuristic, but it's an example of the kind of content we expect to see in the system," Zuckerberg said. "We're starting to see traditional video blend with more immersive content. When you think about virtual reality, people think of gaming. These are spherical videos. You can move around within it and change your viewing angle because the videos are filmed on up to 24 different cameras at once. It's not something you consume passively, you're actually interacting with it and feel like you're there."

We'll see more of Facebook's plans for virtual reality at Thursday's F8 keynote, which is all about Oculus.

 

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