Hello Mi Fans,
Facebook's F8 developers' conference launched with a strong message from CEO Mark Zuckerberg: "The future is private." The social media behemoth has had a rough last few years, plagued by privacy scandals, declining usership, and coming to terms with its role as a platform for misinformation and hate speech.
Zuck is determined to turn it around, however, and win back the hearts—and trust—of the millions of users Facebook has lost by redefining its commitment to user privacy, and overhauling the look and feel of the platform. Dubbed "FB5" by Zuckerberg, the redesign ditches the signature blue color scheme for a clean, white interface.
Most importantly however, the app will now downplay the News Feed as the central point of interaction, bringing Events and Groups to the forefront. A host of other updates were announced as well, so if you can't watch the entire hour-plus keynote presentation, check out our roundup of the major F8 announcements below.
Groups and Events Are Front and Center
Since 400 million people belong to a Facebook group. the new app design highlights these interactions. A new "Groups" tab in the middle of the Facebook app (before and after on iOS above) will display the news feeds from groups you belong to, while allowing you to post in any group to which you belong.
It will also integrate groups into other areas, like the Marketplace, and suggest groups to join based on shared interests, location, and where your friends are. The Events tab is also much cleaner overall, with an updated and easier-to-use map that lets you browse through local events, sort by calendar, and see what your friends are attending. The change is live on mobile and will arrive on desktop in the coming months.
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Add 'Close Friends' on Facebook Messenger
Later this year, we'll see a leaner and faster Facebook Messenger on iOS—much leaner in fact, at less than 30MB. Zuckerberg is so confident in the new version of Messenger that he says it will launch in just two seconds. We can't wait to test that one out.
In addition, there will be a way to designate "close friends" on the app, creating more personalized spaces to communicate and share. Facebook also wants you to share video from the Facebook app on Messenger (above).
Finally, Facebook Messenger will be available as a desktop app for Windows and macOS later this year too.
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Facebook Dating Expands With Secret Crush
Last year, Facebook announced a dating service modeled around finding long-term relationships for its 200 million single users. This year, the service is expanding with a feature called "Secret Crush." Users of the dating service can add select friends to a "secret" list, and if another user reciprocates by adding you to theirs, Facebook will notify you both.
Facebook Dating is currently live in Colombia, Thailand, Canada, Argentina, and Mexico. This week, it expanded to 14 new countries: Philippines, Vietnam, Singapore, Malaysia, Laos, Brazil, Peru, Chile, Bolivia, Ecuador, Paraguay, Uruguay, Guyana, and Suriname.
If you're looking for something more platonic, "Meet New Friends" on Facebook aims to connect people with shared communities like a school, workplace or city. Facebook will start testing this opt-in feature "in a few places" ahead of a wider rollout.
No More Instagram Likes?
Facebook may be declining, but its more visually inclined sibling Instagram is growing rapidly. But Facebook is thinking about changing a core social-networking feature: likes. Instagram said it's experimenting with removing likes altogether, in an effort to focus on content and remove the competitive aspect. It's currently being tested in Canada, where only post creators can see the number of likes. It's unclear whether or not this will actually make its way to the app at large.
Facebook also tipped a new Instagram camera design with Create Mode, which Facebook says "will make it simpler to use popular creative tools like effects and interactive stickers, so you can express yourself more freely."
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Increased Security for Portal
Facebook's Portal and Portal+ hands-free video-calling devices are expanding to European and Canadian markets in the fall of 2019, and getting end-to-end encryption all calls. You’ll also be able to upload photos from Instagram and Facebook, as well as stream directly through Facebook Live, further entwining the functionality between the two.
This summer, meanwhile, look for daily updates on birthdays and events and the ability to send private video messages from the Portal. Alexa skills like Flash Briefings, smart home control, and the Amazon Prime Video app are also expected later this year.