During Facebook’s annual F8 developer conference, the company’s founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg unveiled a new look for its main platform, both on mobile and on desktop. It will be the biggest change in five years, he said, although arguably it’s the most drastic change to Facebook’s website since 2011, when the company introduced the timeline.
The new design is meant to be simpler, more streamlined, and seemingly easier to navigate. “It’s not even blue,” Zuckerberg joked during his speech, referring to the predominance of white in the new design. The Facebook icon will also be changing, he added, to be “a bit more lively and modern.” The company is also re-writing the code for its website and app from scratch to make them faster, Zuckerberg said.
A crucial aspect of the redesign will be an emphasis on groups, which are among the most active parts of the Facebook universe. More than 400 million people are in “meaningful groups,” on Facebook, Zuckerberg said. They also happen to be where the company has been focusing much of its attention for the last several years. Zuckerberg said the goal is to make “communities as central as friends” to the Facebook experience.
This also fits in with the company’s new mission to shift to become more of a “living room” instead of a “town square.”
“This redesign makes it easy for people to go from public spaces to more private ones, like Groups,” the company said in its announcement. Groups will be more easily accessible in a new tab at the top of the app and site. The platform will be surfacing group suggestions for users across all of its features, like it does for shows on Facebook Watch.
Zuckerberg emphasized that it won’t suggest groups that share misinformation. More generally, Facebook will be cracking down on groups that engage in violence, although he gave little information on how it would be doing this.
Fidji Simo, the new head of the Facebook app, added that you’ll also be able to save your spot in your newsfeed while scrolling, and that the company was adding dark mode for the desktop version of the platform.
The company will also be creating an even greater delineation between its main Facebook platform and Facebook Messenger, when it launches a new desktop app for Messenger on both Mac and PC later in the year.
The changes will be immediately visible on the Facebook app, and will be rolled out to the desktop app over the next several months.