A rundown of the changes coming to Facebook
Monday, May 06, 2019
This time last year, news of Facebook’s Cambridge Analytica scandal had just broken. Weeks later, the company hosted its annual developer conference, F8, but data and privacy were hardly talked about.
Instead, Mark Zuckerberg, founder and CEO of Facebook, highlighted what had worked. He said, "Despite facing important challenges, our community and business are off to a strong start in 2018."
This year, though, Zuckerberg went all in and declared that the future is private in his opening keynote. Read on to learn more about how Facebook is addressing privacy — and the other significant product changes coming to the platform.
1. Design overhaul
"This is the biggest change we’ve made to the Facebook app and site in five years," Zuckerberg said.
The mobile redesign has already rolled out while the desktop site will debut a few months from now. The new design is cleaner with more white space, but the biggest change is that Groups, as well as Events, are featured prominently in the navigation bar. More on groups below, but the rebooted Events will make it easier to find local happenings and coordinate outings with friends.
The "aspirational redesign" puts community front and center.
2. Groups galore
During Facebook’s big News Feed update last year, Groups became more of a focus, and now, Facebook is doubling down on that.
"Everywhere there are friends, there should be Groups," Fidji Simo, the head of the Facebook app, said. Currently, there are over 400 million people in Facebook Groups, but the company wants every one of its 2.3 billion members to belong to at least one Group.
Why this emphasis on Groups? Well, the company announced that when people find the right Group, it often becomes the most meaningful part of how they use Facebook.
Zuckerberg also said, "It all adds up to this feeling that groups are now at the heart of the experience, just as much as your friends and family are."
Now, users will be able to discover new Groups easier, view content from Groups in their News Feed and dive into new features within Groups themselves.
3. Meet new friends (or your next date)
Many of Facebook’s updates this year align closely with the company’s mission: Give people the power to build community and bring the world closer together.
In addition to connecting you with the friends you already have, Facebook wants to introduce you to new ones, too, with its Meet New Friends. You opt in and then begin connecting to other individuals who have also turned the feature on and have something in common with you, like a Group, workplace or place of education.
Or if you’re looking for love on Facebook, you’re in luck. Facebook Dating, which was announced at the F8 conference last year, is rolling out to 14 new countries.
4. What about privacy?
While Zuckerberg did open the conference with the bold, “The future is private,” declaration, privacy wasn’t mentioned as much as anticipated. Zuckerberg continually said the company is building a more "privacy-focused social platform." But details on privacy weren’t laid out at the event.
Recently, though, he did publish a lengthy blog post on Facebook’s shift to encrypted, ephemeral messages in its messaging apps.
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