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Facebook Unveil Major Redesign, New Privacy Focus

Facebook is touting privacy in a redesign that will begin encrypting messages and increase community focus in the news feed.

Speaking at the company’s annual F8 Conference in San Jose yesterday, Facebook Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg announced a number of aesthetic and operational changes to the firm’s platforms.

The changes are being heralded as “the next chapter” for the company.

A string of privacy scandals, including the Cambridge Analytica debacle which Facebook expects to pay more than $3 billion in fines over, has prompted a new focus on privacy as the company looks to rebuild the trust of its users.

“It’s not going to happen overnight and to be clear we don’t have all the answers,” Mr Zuckerberg said.

“We don’t have the strongest reputation on privacy right now, to put it lightly.”

Zuckerberg also pushed a focus on smaller community groups and increased interaction amongst user’s existing social circles.

A redesign of Facebook’s main site will focus on interaction with existing friends.

“As the world gets bigger and more connected, we need that sense of intimacy more than ever,” Mr Zuckerberg said.

“That’s why I believe that the future is private.”

Several changes to the firm’s portfolio were also announced at the conference.

Facebook Messenger will soon become fully integrated with the more widely used WhatsApp platform, with messages defaulting to end-to-end encryption, meaning Facebook can’t see the contents.

WhatsApp’s secure payments service will also be rolled out to other countries after a successful trial in India.

Instagram users will soon be able to hide the number of likes on their posts from other users, as well as create posts using just text, stickers or drawings, a departure from the image-based focus of the app.

Instagram will also increase its attempts to position the app as an e-commerce platform allowing users to shop from creators, beginning in the coming weeks with a trial including accounts like Kylie Jenner, Ronnie Fieg, GQ and Vogue.

A feature allowing users to raise money for and donate to nonprofits will also be rolled out further.

Facebook is also looking to boost users on its Dating platform, rolling the feature out to more countries and adding a new feature allowing users to tag existing friends they have a crush on, matching with them on reciprocation.

The iconic blue banner which has headed the Facebook website since its inception will also be ditched, first in the US then worldwide.

Facebook’s virtual reality platform Oculus will also begin shipping new headsets, including a standalone model, later this month.

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