The updated version of Facebook for mobile and desktop, referred to as “FB5,” will be simpler, faster and emphasizes users’ communities, or Groups on the app and website, according to Facebook, which unveiled the new website and app designs at its annual F8 developers conference in San Jose, California. Facebook also announced a number of other features on Tuesday, including the ability to meet new friends on Facebook and the expansion of Facebook’s long-awaited Dating feature to 14 new countries.
Facebook’s latest round of updates and improvements announced on Tuesday arrive roughly two months after Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg published his vision for “privacy-focused” messaging and social networking in a blog post. In the post, Facebook’s chief executive highlighted groups, private messaging, and ephemeral stories as the fastest growing areas of online communication.
As Facebook has evolved, it’s become a platform that lets users do any number of things: watch videos, sign up for events and shop on Marketplace. But as Zuckerberg wrote in early March, arguing for increased privacy on Facebook’s platforms, one of the social network’s fastest growing areas is small groups. Indeed, according to Facebook, over 400 million people on Facebook now belong to a Group.
‘We regularly hear from people who tell us that Groups are now a central part of their Facebook experience,” a Facebook spokesperson told Yahoo Finance. “They are an everyday resource for people to connect over things they care about — a place to exchange new recipes, learn what's happening in their neighborhood or simply bond over a love of dogs. And they are also a place where people who share life events, like moving, parenthood or new careers, get support and encouragement. We want to give more people the opportunity to find a meaningful group that will add value to their lives.”
To that end, FB5 now emphasizes Facebook Groups on both desktop and mobile, moving the Groups tab closer to the center of the desktop website and mobile app. The new Groups tab will also display a customized feed of activity across all the user’s groups. Meanwhile, a new discovery tool will suggest groups you might be interested in. And Facebook is currently working to weave in Group across the rest of the social network in sections such as Marketplace, the Gaming tab and Facebook Watch.
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