Facebook Debuts New Look And Features To Help Move Past ‘Old Issues’

Facebook announced a handful of new stuff at its just-concluded F8 Conference, among which is Messenger's integration into other Facebook-owned apps including Instagram and WhatsApp. It is seen as a move to entice younger users, as with the recent cases of data breaches many people are leaving Facebook to keep their privacy intact. They are acknowledging that Facebook started as a platform to bring people together.

The official release dates for the new features have not yet been revealed, but the company said it is now working on the redesign.

The main change is a focus on encryption, and Facebook wants to secure the entire app.

For businesses, the company rolled out product catalogs, allowing customers to view a list of products within the chat. The changes are meant to help people focus on connecting with others and to downplay the competition for likes and followers. It will be available in the United States starting today, with roll out in other countries over the coming months.

"With catalogues, businesses can showcase their goods so people can easily discover them".

The new option to communicate through a Messenger app designed for personal computers is part of Zuckerberg's plan to emphasize more private ways for Facebook users to communicate instead of encouraging them to share everything on their personal pages.

"Look, I get that a lot of people aren't sure that we are serious about this", he said to laughter from the crowd.

On top of this, Facebook showed "Secret Crush", a tool that lets users create a private list of users they may be "interested" in. "Haha, good times", one Twitter user said, reminding the online community of the Cambridge Analytica scandal a year ago, in which it was revealed that a British political consulting firm had purchased information on over 87 million Facebook users.

With this new Secret Crush feature, Facebook is turning into Tinder where you can meet potential partners without swiping. The support for new types of groups has also been introduced. Those users were given a treat of a bunch of new features and functions being added to the website today. A pilot program allowing users to buy directly from influencer posts is also in the works. And you can bet that it will continue to use that data to sell ads, even if those ads now appear somewhere else other than News Feed. It's worth noting that WhatsApp's beta test for payments in India has been underway for over a year now; earlier plans to launch within a month of the beta test fell through.

"Privacy gives us the freedom to be ourselves, so it's no surprise that the fastest ways we're all communicating online are private messaging and smaller groups and in Stories".

To make the experience more private, Facebook is putting more stress on Groups. And Messenger will eventually make end-to-end encryption the default setting for all messages, rather than an opt-in choice.

Messenger will become a faster and lighter app, according to the firm.

That aside, Instagram will have a better camera experience which involves adding a Create Mode in its Stories feature, allowing users to start a story with quizzes, stickers and so on without needing to upload pictures or videos.

  • Wendy Palmer