In Depth

Facebook redesign: what’s changing and when

Social media firm announces privacy-focused updates at annual F8 developers conference

Facebook is overhauling its website and app as part of a push to improve user privacy, Mark Zuckerberg has announced.

Unveiled at the firm’s F8 developers conference in California yesterday, the massive redesign shifts the social media service’s focus to events and groups, with new ways to communicate with closed circles of friends rather than posting public statuses. 

Facebook boss Zuckerberg told the conference audience that “the future is private”, as that slogan was projected on a screen behind him - emphasising his determination to move past the series of data-sharing scandals and “regulatory challenges” that his company has faced in recent years, the Financial Times reports. 

The tech entrepreneur also confirmed a number of changes to Facebook-owned image-sharing platform Instagram and chat service WhatsApp.

Some Instagram users will no longer be able to see how many likes their photo gets, in a bid to “make the app less of a popularity contest”, The Daily Telegraph says. The app will also “nudge” users if it detects that they are about to post a potentially harmful comment, in order to combat cyberbullying.

Meanwhile, WhatsApp will be integrated into the company’s Portal video-calling device for the first time. The tablet-like screen isn’t on sale in the UK yet, but Facebook aims to open orders in Europe this autumn.  

However, the biggest changes are reserved for Facebook. Here are the key details:

When is the update happening?

Facebook has already started rolling out the redesign, but it will “take a few months” for the new look to reach all of the platform’s users, says tech news site Digital Trends

How has the design changed?

One of the first changes that Facebook users may notice is that the platform’s signature blue logo and menu bar has been axed in favour of a minimalistic black and white look. 

More significantly, the revamp will see users encouraged to interact and share content with private groups, rather than posting publicly on the site’s News Feed.

Facebook will also recommend groups that are better targeted to the user - so someone who follows left-wing accounts, say, will not be shown right-wing pages. 

In another major shift, the platform will help users find nearby events that they might want to attend, with a new tab that features a more detailed map “for seeing where the events you’re interested in are in proximity to one another”, The Verge reports.

Other new features include “Health Support” groups, where users can ask experts about heath issues anonymously, while the revamped jobs section will offer new templates for companies to post information about career opportunities, says The Independent.  

What about Messenger?

Facebook says it will be improving the security of its Messenger chat app in the near future. 

The firm will introduce end-to-end encryption technology that makes it “almost impossible” for messages to be read by hackers, a feature already in use on WhatsApp, The Daily Telegraph reports. 

A stand-alone desktop version of the Messenger app will also be available, allowing users to sent messages and make video calls from their computer. 

Can you revert back to the old look?

No. Once the Facebook and Messenger apps have been updated on your smartphone or tablet, you can no longer revert to the old versions.

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