After a brutal 2018 that forced Facebook to admit it hasn't got the best reputation when it comes to privacy, Mark Zuckerberg has big plans for the social networking platform in 2019: Facebook is being redesigned.
Zuckerberg made the announcements (opens in new tab) during Facebook's F8 event near the company's home turf in San Jose, California, where he addressed the past year of issues concerning privacy, security and decreasing trust in the platform.
The new version of Facebook, codenamed 'FB5', will be the biggest change the social network has experienced in years: almost every single aspect of the platform is changing in some way. There's a lot of information to process, and we've wrapped up everything you need to know right here.
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New web and mobile designs
The fifth major redesign of Facebook is incoming, codenamed 'FB5', and it will make communities – known as Groups – the focus, featuring a sleek redesign that should make it faster and more reliable, not to mention more visually appealing.
The new Facebook mobile app should now be live too, as a much faster and more immersive experience.
Facebook has made finding what you're looking for more convenient, and more importantly claims to have made it safer and more secure. This is the biggest change to the Facebook app in five years – even the Facebook logo is being updated for 2019.
There's a new Facebook desktop website, too, and it should be much lighter on system resources, with the same design language as the mobile app. It will be coming in the next few months, with some updates showing up right away.
All about building community
Zuckerberg made it clear that Facebook's focus is shifting to communities both public and private. This means that Groups are going to be the core focus: there are already tens of millions of active Groups on Facebook.
Groups will be easier to find, and easier to participate in, thanks to a new, redesigned Groups tab. This will show you a personalized feed of all of your groups, so you can focus on your communities in a single place, rather than parsing them out from the rest of your News Feed.
Users will also notice that Group recommendations will crop up in more places, but they'll be more relevant to what you're doing in the app. For instance, you may see more 'buy and sell' groups show up in the Marketplace, and Today in Gaming may suggest a new gaming group for you to join.
The News Feed will also be redesigned so that you can more easily share content directly to your Groups; but this new community approach goes beyond Groups.
Facebook is launching Facebook Dating in more countries, along with a new feature called Secret Crush. The idea is that you can opt in to this, and name up to nine of your friends who you have interest in.
If any of those friends opt in to the program and name you as one of their secret crushes, then you'll be matched; if the secret crush isn't mutual, no one will know the names you entered.
Facebook Dating was already live in five countries, and has now been expanded to 14 more. The service will launch in the US at the end of the year.
There will also be some new ways to meet friends, through the new Meet New Friends feature. This is also an opt-in feature, so you'll only be exposed to people who are open to meeting new people. This feature will also work with your Groups, so you can easily add new friends from your favorite community.
Facebook's Marketplace is also getting some improvements – in the US you'll be able to ship products across the country rather than just locally, and users will be able to pay for stuff safely and securely through the Facebook app. This should make shopping on the Facebook platform more secure for both sellers and buyers.
The Events tab is also getting a makeover, and it'll be easier to explore your city. You can coordinate with your friends, find local businesses, and find a new favorite restaurant based on your own personal preferences.
There are many Facebook changes coming in the next few months, and it could transform the way people use the platform day-in and day-out – and at the very least, the hope is that these changes will make the social network more secure, and less divisive.
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Image credits: Facebook