The future is private,” or so Mark Zuckerberg claimed at the F8 conference where Facebook’s latest and greatest updates where announced.
In a continuous attempt to focus on authentic and secure connections, the social media giant announced a variety of adjustments made to Facebook and its partner platforms.
After a controversial year full of security breaches, scandals, lawsuits, and concerns, this make-over is necessary to boost the company’s reputation.
Here are the top changes you must know about:
Reinventing the Newsfeed: one of the biggest and most instant changes we’ll see from Facebook is a total revamp of the platform’s newsfeed.
This redesign is set to put community groups at the forefront of the user experience, taking the spotlight away from the traditional newsfeed that favors content from individuals and brands.
New tabs will make these groups more accessible in all parts of the platform including new sharing and chat options.
This change is brought by the popularity of the groups feature.
“There are tens of millions of active groups on Facebook. When people find the right one, it often becomes the most meaningful part of how they use Facebook. And today, more than 400 million people on Facebook belong to a group that they find meaningful” stated Zuckerberg at the conference.
By focusing on community building, Facebook strays away from the competitive broadcast communication style that characterized the former newsfeed and its algorithms, giving people back the power to truly connect with their peers based on mutual interests.
A Safer, Better, Faster, Stronger Messenger: Facebook has lost plenty of trust amongst its users given the plethora of security breaches and leaks that the platform has recently faced.
If you’re worried about how safe your information is under the platform’s messaging apps, Facebook is applying new safety features, both to Messenger and WhatsApp such as message encryption, to make sure that the information shared on these platforms will not reach or be harvested by Facebook itself.
Another change to come for the Messenger app mirrors the Newsfeed’s intentions to strengthen connections by making it easier to communicate with the people you’re closest to.
A new section of Messenger will be dedicated solely to those connections you value the most, including private stories, status updates and more, following the footsteps of the Close Friends section on Instagram.
Additional changes to the Messenger app include a stand-alone desktop application, making it easier for users to access their chats without having to open their browsers.
For mobile, the weight of the Messenger app will be 70 MB lighter, allowing for faster loading times that will enhance the user experience.
Less liking, more creating: the heart-shaped symbol that started out as a tool to demonstrate digital appreciation has acquired such personal value that Instagram is testing out its removal due to an increased pressure to create highly liked content.
This change would hide like counts from other people’s posts, while still allowing users to see how many likes their own posts receive, in order to promote authentic content and connections.
To further promote the creation of authentic content, Instagram will be offering a new type of account profile just for creators.
The creator profile will give you access to many of the business profile tools in addition to tools made to help creators connect better with their audience.
The creator profile will allegedly be available to influencers with a certain amount of followers, and will not be connected to the Instagram API according to Later.
This could be a setback for content creators that schedule and measure analytics through third-party apps.
A match made on Facebook: Cupid is about to gain some more competition as Facebook dips its toes into the match-making game.
If you’ve ever had your eyes on one of your Facebook friends, Facebook Dating is here to act as a wingman and spark a new flame with its new feature “Secret Crush”.
This new feature will allow you to create a list of 9 friends you are romantically interested in, and as long as they use the service and add you to their respective lists, a match will be made.
Whether this app will be able to compete with the likes of Tinder and Bumble is yet to be determined, but it’s at least worth a shot.
According to Vox, the dating app market could be worth $12 billion a year by 2020.
The use of this app is limited to certain audiences in the world but will expand to 14 countries in the near future.
As Facebook and its partner platforms continue to face scrutiny and skepticism regarding user privacy and safety, Zuckerberg admits that a long road is ahead of them in order to regain the public’s trust and loyalty.
Only time will tell if these changes will be enough, but for now, reverting focus to the user is a step in the right direction.