The big changes coming to Facebook and WhatsApp

Friday, 03 May, 2019

"I get that a lot of people aren't sure that we're serious about this".

"I know that we don't exactly have the strongest reputation on privacy right now, to put it lightly", a grinning Zuckerberg said, receiving crickets from the audience. "But I'm committed to doing this well, and to starting a new chapter for our products".

In addition, Facebook Dating is expanding to another 14 countries: Philippines, Vietnam, Singapore, Malaysia, Laos, Brazil, Peru, Chile, Bolivia, Ecuador, Paraguay, Uruguay, Guyana, and Suriname.

Facebook recently disclosed that they believe the company will be fined up to $5 billion by the F.T.C. for privacy issues, so this cavalier attitude screams of a company that has become too big for the good of its users. If two users add each other on to their secret crush list, they will be privately matched in a Tinder-esque fashion. News Feed content can now also be shared directly with a group, just as you could always share posts with individual contacts.

But Zuckerberg is promising change, beginning with a more privacy-focused service with "simple, intimate spaces where you have complete confidence that what you say and do is private, and clear control over who you're communicating with".

Facebook is adding tools meant to make engaging with groups easier, including improved recommendations of online communities that might be of interest.

A desktop app for Messenger is also coming later this year.

Facebook Messenger also got an overhaul, with a faster Messenger mobile app, an all-new desktop app, and some new features for business users.

Facebook is launching a major redesign of its app and website built around letting people connect with groups that share their interests - an attempt to shift its focus away from the untrammeled public sharing that has helped spread hate speech, extremism, misinformation and livestreamed video of massacres. Gaming groups will have a new chat feature, and Facebook is looking at ways to allow buyers on Facebook Live to find out more information about a product and make a purchase without leaving the live stream. The company did not announce a launch date for the feature.

Facebook app gets a reskin The mainline Facebook app is getting a redesign, from a rejigged logo to a heavier emphasis on Facebook Groups. You'll also see a new circular icon instead of the "squircle". The feature will roll out in the the end of 2019. You may see more content from your groups in News Feed.

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.

Facebook Portal comes to Europe and Canada, with a host of new features Facebook's take on a smart display, the Portal and Portal Plus, are rolling out beyond the United States after not selling as badly as everyone expected.

Last year, WhatsApp released its Business API to enabled businesses to send certain kinds of messages to users in exchange of money to WhatsApp. It is also bringing WhatsApp to Portal, with the promise of end-to-end encryption to all calls.