Facebook’s F8 developer conference is an annual event held by Facebook in San Jose, CA. This conference is held for developers and entrepreneurs who build products and services from the social platform so they can stay up to date with industry news and developments.
After a difficult year following the Cambridge Analytica scandal and controversy over the privacy of its users, Facebook’s future has a strong focus on its true values; Helping users of the platform stay connected with their close family and friends.
During the keynote, Facebook announced their plans for upcoming updates to be made to Facebook, Instagram and Facebook Messenger...
The Introduction of Facebook Dating
At the F8 event of 2018, Facebook introduced a brand-new dating service that would be available to all users. Now in 2019 after successful beta testing in Colombia, Canada and Thailand, the platform has announced that Facebook Dating is expanding to 14 more countries.
As part of Facebook Dating, there will also be a feature called ‘Secret Crush’. You guessed it, users will be able to create a secret list of Facebook friends they are attracted to, even if these friends don’t have their own Facebook Dating profile. If your crush is also using Facebook Dating and they add you to their own Secret Crush list, Facebook will notify the two of you that there’s a match.
Highlights to Facebook’s Groups and Events
Facebook also mentioned at the F8 that the Newsfeed as you know it will begin to change. In an update that Mark Zuckerberg referred to as “FB5,” Facebook will begin to highlight groups and events instead of status updates of your family and friends. This includes the creation of a prominent groups tab and a personalised feed from groups and events you have joined. Group interaction options will also begin to show up while you’re browsing other parts of Facebook.
This redesign of our newsfeed is also supposed to help people expand their social circles outside their current network. There will be the introduction of a new feature called ‘Meet New Friends’, which connects strangers who have something in common, such as an employer, school or similar interests. This will also include the suggestions of new events based on location, rather than friend interests. Whilst Android and iOS apps will be updated first; the desktop site will be updated in the upcoming months.
Facebook Messenger is Changing
We can also expect Facebook Messenger to be changing in the upcoming months. With the introduction of status messages and the ability to share photos with users you like and trust, Facebook Messenger is positioning itself as THE way to keep up with your friends and potentially take focus away from the newsfeed we are currently used to.
On iOS, Messenger is also being redesigned to use up less storage on your mobile phone. This new version will be under 30MB, about 20 percent of its current size. If you regularly use Facebook Messenger on desktop, you will be pleased to hear Facebook will be launching desktop apps for Mac and PC this year.
Instagram Likes Will Be Hidden
Instagram have announced they are testing a change to how likes are currently presented on the app. In Instagram’s own words “We want your followers to focus on what you share, not how many likes your posts get.”
In a new effort to help make Instagram a less pressurising environment, developers are focused on creating mindful usage of the app without users focusing on likes and possibly even the number of followers.
This update will still allow users to see who has liked their own post but likes of other accounts will be hidden. This feature is currently being tested in Canada and will eventually be rolled out to all users if successful.
Instagram’s New “Away Mode” and “Nudge” Feature
Instagram are testing a new “nudge” feature will warn users if they’re about to comment something that could be harassment or bullying. This won’t censor negative comments, but according to Adam Mosseri, Instagram hopes this extra prompt could provide the user with the opportunity to stop and think about what they’re posting before feelings are hurt.
“Away Mode” is also currently being tested. Similar to Facebook’s deactivation feature, Away Mode will allow users to opt out of Instagram during stressful times such as a break up or moving house. This would give users the ability to pause their activity and temporarily step away from notifications without deleting their account.
Instagram will have it’s own Ecommerce feature
Instagram also announced the testing of a new, dedicated Ecommerce feature that will allow influencers, celebrities or musicians to tag an item of clothing so that their followers can buy them in-app. Currently, Instagram only allow “Shopping Tags” for brands that allow users to tap the image to find the product that is currently listed on their Facebook shop.
At the moment, influencers have to ask their followers to swipe up on their story, click the link in their bio or use a discount code. The problem with taking a user to an external source is that once the user has reached the landing page, the website’s customer experience is responsible for converting that customer. With an in-app Ecommerce feature, users will have more of a seamless user journey and it will be easier than ever to purchase.
It remains to be seen how this new feature will affect current influencer marketing campaigns. This feature is only currently available to a small group, including the likes of Kim Kardashian and Kylie Jenner. Businesses must be part of the checkout beta for creators to tag their products.
You can now Donate through Instagram StoriesYou may have noticed Facebook’s new birthday fundraisers. When it is a friend’s birthday, they are given the ability to create a donation page and request friends to donate for their birthday. Instagram are testing a similar feature which allows users to add a donation sticker to a chosen non-profit organisation.
Followers won’t have to leave your story to make a donation to your chosen cause. Once they give, the sticker will update to say "donated." Instagram assures that 100% of all money raised through donation stickers will go to the non-profit.
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