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The Latest: Facebook unveils ‘Watch Party’ feature

Mark Zuckerberg
The Associated Press

SAN JOSE, Calif. (AP) — The Latest on Facebook’s developer conference (all times local):

11:15 a.m.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg poked a little fun at himself talking about a new feature called Watch Party, which lets Facebook users view videos together with their friends.

“Let’s say,” Zuckerberg told developers at Facebook’s f8 conference Tuesday, “That your friend is testifying before Congress.”

Now, he said, you’ll be able to bring your friends together, “laugh together, cry together,” Zuckerberg said to laughs, adding that some of his friends “actually did this.”

Zuckerberg testified before Congress last month for about 10 hours over two days. He was grilled about how Facebook protects users’ data and other issues.

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10:50 a.m.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg says the company is working on a feature that allows users to clear their browsing history from the site and prevent it from keeping tabs on link clicks going forward.

Zuckerberg warned that the service won’t be quite as good if users take this step, as it has to relearn their history. But he added the goal is to put more power into its users’ hands to determine what they want to share.

Zuckerberg made the announcement at Facebook’s annual f8 developer conference, in which he acknowledging that 2018 has been an “intense year” just four months in.

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10:40 a.m.

Facebook is ready to launch a portable headset that it’s counting on to transform the geeky realm of virtual reality into a mass phenomenon.

The $199 device, called the Oculus Go, is going on sale Tuesday. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced the company’s plan to make the headset six months ago.

Oculus Go is different from other virtual reality devices that require smartphones or a cord tethered to a personal computer to cast people into artificial worlds or show three-dimensional videos.

The need for additional equipment is one of the reasons virtual reality, or VR, has had limited appeal so far.

Zuckerberg is counting on the Oculus Go to widen the audience for VR, as Facebook tries to deploy the technology to reshape the way people interact and experience life, much as its social network already has done.

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10:30 a.m.

Move over Match.com.

Facebook is launching a dating feature. CEO Mark Zuckerberg said to laughs at Facebook’s f8 developer conference Tuesday that the new tool is “not just for hookups” but to build “meaningful, long-term relationships.”

That is, if you want. The feature will be opt-in, meaning you have to choose to use it. Zuckerberg also stressed that the feature was built with privacy and security in mind from the start. The company has been under fire recently for possibly not doing this with some of its features over the years.

Zuckerberg also said the dating feature will not suggests users’ friends to date. This is already what other dating apps that rely on Facebook data do, such as Tinder.

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10:20 a.m.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg kicked off his company’s annual developer conference acknowledging that 2018 has been an “intense year” just four months in.

Speaking in San Jose, California, at Facebook’s f8 gathering of tech folks, startups and others, Zuckerberg said to cheers that the company is re-opening app reviews, the process that gets new and updated apps on its services.

He also reiterated that Facebook is investing a lot in security and in strengthening its systems so they can’t be exploited to meddle with elections.

But unlike other recent public appearances, he did not start off with an apology for the company’s recent privacy scandal.

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7 a.m.

Mark Zuckerberg has a fresh opportunity to apologize for Facebook’s privacy scandal — and to sketch out Facebook’s future.

The Facebook CEO will kick off F8, the company’s annual conference for software developers. Zuckerberg will speak Tuesday in San Jose, California, to assembled software developers and other tech folks.

It’s normally a sympathetic audience. But they are likely to have some tough questions this year.

Zuckerberg might touch on Facebook’s year of privacy scandals, congressional testimony, Russia investigations and apologies.

He will also have an opportunity to talk about where things go from here. Facebook is forging ahead with new promises to protect user privacy even if it means restricting access to developers.

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