This week we attended Facebook’s F8 developer conference, and it’s no surprise this year’s theme focused on the next chapter, privacy.
As the platform continues to grow, Zuckerberg admits that they face a new challenge, ‘We’re all in a quest to find our place in this world. It can be hard to find and feel like you have a unique sense of purpose when you are connected to billions of people at the same time. Privacy gives us the freedom to be ourselves.’
To create a sense of belonging, intimacy, and more private interactions the Facebook team announced several updates. From Instagram, Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp and an overall rehaul of Facebook’s look and feel.
Here’s what’s new:
New look and feel
Over 400 million people belong to a Facebook group. Recognizing that people are joining fewer physical communities, Facebook wants to provide its users with interactions that are more meaningful. This move started with Facebook’s changes to the newsfeed last year, prioritizing friend’s posts over businesses.
This year Facebook will continue to focus on community, placing groups at the heart of the experience. An update that Zuckerberg calls, “FB5”, offers a more personalized feed based on groups and events the user joins.
Relationship Status: Looking for Love
Move over Tinder and Hinge. Facebook dating is now on the market and ready to mingle. With no immediate plans to monetize, the new feature, called Secret Crush, will encourage dating amongst those already connected or identified as ‘friends’ on Facebook. This feature will allow you to secretly flag friends of interest, and if the mood is right (and they also flag you), the app will let you know the feelings are mutual.
Users will soon notice a new shopping channel in explore that will support in-app purchasing. And Checkout continues to expand, offering a way to buy products directly through ‘creators’. This will include the verified brands and political figures on the platform.
To Like or Not to Like?
Like it or not, Facebook is offering more ways to interact with followers and testing a system that will almost entirely hide likes on a person’s feed. Shifting the focus to the actual content shared, rather than the number of likes a post generates. The feature will get its trial run in Canada and roll out from there.
Instagram Stories camera is getting an update, making it easier to find some of the extra features that may have been harder to access in the past. This will allow users to create an image for Stories that isn’t a photo or video.
With direct connections amongst people being the biggest focus of this year’s event, it is no surprise that Facebook announced a number of changes to its ever so popular messenger platform.
With a focus on building the fastest and simplest, private messaging app. The newest version of Messenger will be smaller, coming in right around 20MB and is being touted as the fastest messaging platform on the market.
Messenger becomes a Desktop App
Beyond speed and simplicity, Facebook wants to be known as a reliable option. As one of the most requested features, an accessible desktop experience will be released later this year, further expanding its already ubiquitous status. Messenger will soon be available on desktop for both Mac and Windows, ensuring your friends are never more than a tap away!
Video Chat Party
Similar to Twitch, Facebook is testing a “group watch” feature. Friends can invite other users to watch a video together in real time while messaging or on a video chat.
Privacy and Security
Also revealed is the transition to reduce the performance of the defaulted end-to-end encryption. What this means is that over 2 billion people will be able to communicate privately. But there is no timetable on when exactly this will roll out.
WhatsApp business will now be able to upload a product catalog. Which will allow users to easily see what’s available for business. This is a great opportunity for small businesses to interact with their customers. In-App payment service is currently being tested within WhatsApp and is expected to roll out across other countries later this year.
Want to Learn More?
With a focus on privacy, Facebook continues to show promise for growth and opportunity. Creating meaning and purpose beyond the connection. Offering a sense of community at the hearts center. A community where businesses thrive with accessible tools, and more intimate, private and reliable experiences.
If you want to learn more about how you can incorporate the latest Facebook updates to your social media marketing campaigns we’d love to chat!