On Tuesday, 1st May 2019, Facebook employees had a private party after they announced a new redesign of the social network.
The exclusive party, which happened at a luxury hotel in California, USA, had hundreds of the company’s employees. It held on the first night of Facebook’s annual F8 developer conference. At the event, Mark Zuckerberg announced the redesign of the core Facebook app. The new revamp will discard the blue bar and put the groups and communities front-and-centre.
Facebook also announced a lot of new features and changes to Facebook, Messenger, WhatsApp, Instagram. In addition to that, they launched two new virtual reality (VR) headsets. They intend to rebuild the architecture of Messenger to make it faster and lighter than before. Messenger will also let users discover and watch videos from Facebook together at the same time virtually.
They also announced a Messenger Desktop app to make it easier to send and receive messages from any device. Users are able to make group video calls, multi-task while chatting in Messenger and collaborate on projects. The desktop version will now be available on both Mac and Windows OS.
Facebook also announced the FB5 with a fresh new design set for release on the desktop. The new features will roll out later in 2019 globally. There is a new Facebook tool introduced to make discovering and engaging groups of people easier. The tool, called ‘Groups’, will have different types. They include groups like job groups, gaming groups, feminist groups and so on. You can also ‘Meet New Friends’ with a new tool that helps people make new friends with people in similar communities.
Facebook announced a new feature called ‘Secret Crush’ too. It lets users select up to nine Facebook friends who they want to express romantic interest in. If the crush has signed up to ‘Facebook Dating’, they will then get a notification that someone has a crush on them. This pretty much works like a dating app and matches love interests.
The Business Catalog is also a big reveal coming to WhatsApp later in the year. Users will be able to see a business catalogue from a WhatsApp chat. Facebook’s ‘Portal’ is also going global and getting support for WhatsApp. Users will now be able to make end-to-end encrypted calls.
The Oculus Quest Virtual Reality headset and Oculus Rift S Virtual Reality headset will start shipping from 21st May 2019. Facebook announced the two VR headsets earlier. There will also be a new Oculus for Business which would launch later in the year, according to Facebook.
At the beginning of the conference, Zuckerberg sets a calm and contrite tone to show that the company takes the backlashes it’s been getting seriously. It has been from one security scandal to another since the Cambridge Analytica issues and the recent New Zealand live-streamed killing on Facebook.
However, as the party started to get more glamorous, things started to get more celebratory. Facebook’s new strategy has the message “Facebook equals Communities since 2019.” This message was branded everywhere, from employee brand gears to cakes, welcome signs and casino chips. The staff of the social networking giant seemed to have a lot of fun with all sort of games, activities and food to enjoy.
Meanwhile, one of Facebook’s former executives, Chris Cox, told Yahoo that he left the company over “artistic differences” with Zuckerberg. He left in March 2019 after spending 13 years at the company.