Facebook says the “future is private", and CEO Mark Zuckerberg spent the better part of his keynote at F8, the company’s yearly developer conference, outlining just how Facebook will do this. While Zuckerberg did say the company will be working towards the privacy goal over the coming years, there were some key announcements at the event.

Let’s take a closer look at what these mean for users.

Undermining the News Feed

Many of Facebook’s privacy nightmares in the recent past can be traced back to the News Feed. The company’s product has been designed around personalising the News Feed to show you things that interest you. To do that, Facebook needs more data on you and that has often been misused by third parties, and even the company itself.

However, at F8, Zuckerberg announced that the company will be moving focus from the News Feed from now on. Part of that is through a redesign of the entire platform, which will be seen immediately on the Android and iOS apps and eventually on the desktop version.

“We’re rolling out FB5, a fresh new design for Facebook that’s simpler, faster, more immersive and puts your communities at the center. Overall, we’ve made it easier to find what you’re looking for and get to your most-used features," the company wrote in a blog post.

With this, the Groups tab will now show up right next to the Watch tab on the Facebook app. The company evidently hopes that this drives users towards the Facebook Groups, which are usually designed around interests and chosen specifically by users themselves.

Facebook is also going to use groups to recommend content. For instance, you will often see videos on Watch that are from the groups you’re in. The same will happen in the Marketplace, Gaming tab and more.

There will also be new features that are tailored to different kinds of groups. “Through new Health Support groups, members can post questions and share information without their name appearing on a post. Job groups will have a new template for employers to post openings, and easier ways for job seekers to message the employer and apply directly through Facebook. Gaming groups will get a new chat feature so members can create threads for different topics within the group," the company wrote.

Lastly, the company is adding a “Meet New Friends" option that allow people to “start friendships with new people from their shared communities like a school, workplace or city". This is an opt-in feature, meaning you will only see people who have opted in to this feature.

Moving to Instagram

For Instagram, Facebook seems to be taking a more engagement focused route. At F8, the company announced that it will be removing the like counts of photos and videos from profiles, feeds and permalinked pages. The company wants followers to “focus on the photos and videos you share, not how many likes they get". The feature will be under test in Canada right now.

Furthermore, the app will have a new “Create Mode", which is meant for influencers to make posts directly from the app instead of using external sources. The company is also redesigning the app’s camera.

The app will also have a new shopping option that allows influencers, celebrities etc. to tag the products in their posts so that users can buy them directly from within Instagram. It will also have a check-out option inside the app, so that payments can be made without moving away either.

Instagram isn’t taking a cut of the sales right now, but the checkout feature requires a selling fee. These features will be in beta right now, offered to a few select influencers.

Facebook Messenger becomes smaller

Facebook’s messaging app is going to take up less space on iPhones now, dropping to under 30MB, which is about 20% of its current size. It is also coming to desktop platforms, so you don’t have to use it inside a tab on your web browser.

Date your friends

Everyone has friends who they secretly have crushes on. Facebook will now help you find those crushed. The company’s new “Secret Crush" feature which will let users mark friends they have a crush on. If those friends make the same choice, Facebook will notify both the users. The feature is already available in Colombia, Thailand, Canada, Argentina and Mexico and will be available in 14 more countries now, including Philippines, Vietnam, Singapore, Malaysia, Laos, Brazil, Peru, Chile, Bolivia, Ecuador, Paraguay, Uruguay, Guyana, and Suriname.


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