Like every major social platform, Facebook is constantly evolving to meet the needs of users and advertisers.
When Mark Zuckerberg launched his project on February 4, 2004, it was called ‘facebook.’ It was a social networking platform strictly limited to college students. Today, it’s available to everyone, including celebrities, businesses, fictitious characters, and even pets.
In the beginning, Facebook didn’t have a feed of your posts. It wasn’t until 2006 when the mini-feed was born, giving everyone access to see a user’s chronological activity. In 2007, the newsfeed was created, providing users with a home page displaying all of their friends’ activities.
Since then, we’ve seen a variety of changes including the addition of ads in the sidebar, ads in the news feed, the addition of 6 new post reactions, and plenty of algorithm changes. In 2018, content from businesses was limited in user feeds, and businesses were forced to create quality content to engage users. The social media giant’s advertising arena changed dramatically as well.
One of the more frustrating changes was the elimination of the phone number lookup. In the past, users could search for friends and family by phone number, making it easier to find relatives who may have gotten married. Unlike other features lost to time, there is a substitute for this loss. You can perform a Facebook phone number search through this website to find out if the owner is on FB.
Be prepared – the revamps aren’t over. In 2019, there are even more changes you can expect to see:
1. A logo change
Facebook’s logo has changed many times over the years, but the coming change won’t be too drastic. They’re going for a sleek, rounded look, and ditching the square border.
2. A redesign of web and mobile apps
Matching the new round logo, Zuckerberg is giving his entire application a rounded design overhaul. The new design features rounded search bar corners, rounded content boxes, and a slightly lighter color scheme that makes the content appear brighter.
3. A faster and better Messenger app
Zuckerberg promises to make Messenger faster and more relevant. Soon, it will be possible to watch videos with others at the same time on Messenger. There’s also a desktop application in the works to make messaging friends on a laptop easier. This desktop app will unify messages for Facebook, Instagram, Messenger, and WhatsApp.
4. Better privacy
Current privacy settings are decent. Posts can be private, friends-only, or you can choose to exclude specific people. These settings have worked well, but this year Facebook is taking privacy settings to a new level. The company hasn’t revealed the specifics yet, but we know they’re working on improving privacy settings for all three of their apps: Whatsapp, Messenger, and Instagram. There’s reportedly a strong focus on end-to-end encryption for private messages, but that’s unconfirmed.
Privacy was the core subject matter at F8 – Facebook’s annual conference that deals with the future of technology. Mark Zuckerberg opened the conference with a keynote on how Facebook is prioritizing user privacy in 2019.
5. Self-destructing posts
Mark Zuckerberg announced recently that his team is working on ways to limit the permanence of posts. Soon, we’ll see communications disappear after a period of time, similar to Instagram stories. It’s unclear whether users will have control over this feature, or if the expiry of posts will be assigned by the application.
6. Unified databases between Whatsapp, Instagram, and FB
Part of the redesign for the three apps is designed to integrate the databases on the backend while maintaining the individual applications. Soon, users will be able to message any of their contacts across any platform from any platform. For example, you’ll be able to send a direct message to a FB friend through your Instagram account.
7. Groups are getting an overhaul
Groups are getting redesigned from the ground up. The group’s tab has been redesigned to make discovery easier, and now displays a personalized feed pulling content from a user’s groups.
8. Dating features
At last, Facebook dating has arrived. This feature is currently not available in the U.S. but is being tested in 19 countries. They’re also releasing a feature called “Secret Crush,” where users can add their friends to their “crush list” and if someone adds them back, the match is revealed.
2019 looks promising
A focus on privacy in 2019 makes the new changes look promising. This might be the year we see the kind of improvements we’ve all been waiting for.