Facebook announced a sweeping redesign of the social network replacing its iconic blue menu bar with a clean white design and placing greater-than-ever emphasis on groups. The new look was formally unveiled at F8, Facebook’s annual developer conference in San Jose, California. It gives the social network an appearance that more closely resembles Messenger. The clean lines and white space of Facebook’s new look also echo that of the photo-sharing application Instagram.
While the updated desktop site is coming later this year, the new version of the mobile app has started rolling out. Besides the visual redesign, there are also significant structural changes that place greater emphasis on user-created groups. Users can post to groups directly from the homepage and new tools are being added to specialized types of groups. The “Meet New Friends” feature will also work with groups to help people from real-life connections with others with common interests. Facebook is also rolling out new tools to help users buy and sell things directly within the app: the app’s user-to-user shopping hub. Users will be able to make payments within the app.
Another popular feature is the “Anti-Tinder” service which called Facebook Dating. Adding the “Secret Crush” feature lets a user know if they and an existing friend harbor has hidden feelings for each other without exposing them if it’s unrequited. Facebook shared that Facebook Dating was expanding to 14 additional countries beyond the original five. With the “Secret Crush” feature you can secretly tell your Facebook friends who you might be interested in dating. The list is kept a secret from everyone else but they’ll only receive the notification if they’ve said they have a crush on you too, Facebook will tell both of them.
Not only Facebook has new features but also its photo-sharing cousin, Instagram, has new updates. First, the camera within the app has been totally redesigned to facilitate more creative which is Facebook’s way of referring to things that aren’t images. If you’re a big fan of using Stories to make polls or anything like that, this might be for you. Perhaps the most fascinating Instagram announcement involved likes. Facebook confirmed it was testing a redesign, and it’s only being tested in Canada right now, which is able to hide the total number of likes a post has to make Instagram less about accumulating huge numbers of likes. Apart from that, Instagram will also let influencers sell products from directly within the app. Finally, users can also add donation stickers for charitable organizations to their Stories.
This redesign and new feature rollout mark a significant change from Facebook’s 2018 developer conference. Last year, reeling from scandals, much of Facebook’s F8 felt like damage control with significant announcements for the core app largely lacking. This year’s jackpot of alterations suggests that Facebook believes it has stemmed the bleeding and is ready to start shaking things up again.