For better or worse, Facebook has been leading the social media charge for quite a while. It’s the dominant social network in terms of the overall user base, and it has been since shortly after its inception. With approximately 2.2 billion monthly average users and more than 65 million businesses on the platform, it’s established itself as the market leader. To put it simply, it’s the one to beat. 

There are issues that have been affecting Facebook in recent years that dragged the social network and its founder, Mark Zuckerberg, into the spotlight. Since then, they’ve been working to tackle issues relating to privacy, transparency and ease of use – with varying degrees of success. It’s clear that Facebook needs to improve, but how it does this remains up to them. 

On that note, there are several planned updates to come in 2019, as well as notable updates that you may have missed. We’ve got the details of changes that’ll keep social media execs on their toes.

Privacy First

“Privacy gives us the freedom to be ourselves.” So said Mark Zuckerberg at the Facebook F8 conference back in April. With the recent investigations and controversies surrounding Facebook, it’s no surprise that they now have a renewed focus on privacy. In fact, there are currently rumours brewing of a $5 billion settlement with the Federal Trade Commission in America. It’s clear that they want to move on from this controversy, so their focus has changed.

Facebook is placing all of its energy into private – not public – conversations. From improved Facebook groups to better encryption on other platforms such as WhatsApp, they’re making an effort to change the perception of their platform after the firestorm in 2018. They’re also aiming to improve cohesion between all of Facebook’s social media properties, so you may be able to contact someone on Facebook from Instagram, and vice-versa. While this won’t directly impact advertisers that use the platform, it could be a large step to regaining people’s trust in it.

A Complete Redesign

Mark Zuckerberg on stage at F8 2019  discussing the Facebook redesign

Yes, that’s right. Facebook is working on a complete redesign. This isn’t just a logo change or colour edit, it’s an extremely noticeable change that will impact the way users engage with the platform. The new mobile app is live now, whereas the desktop site should be live in the next few months. One of the more noticeable changes should include a redesign of the news feed to facilitate Facebook’s new focus on private conversations. 

A range of other features are being added too, including new Facebook dating functionality and the “Meet New Friends” feature. For those that advertise events, it should be easier to promote them, as the events tab is getting a redesign. In theory, this should place events in front of people that are more likely to interact with them, but only time will tell. 

Comment Changes

As we’re sure that you’re aware, the Facebook comments section isn’t necessarily ordered by the time the comment was made. Facebook currently orders them due to a few factors, such as how many interactions a comment has, or whether the comment violates the community standards. As you technically “own” your page, you can also self-moderate the comments section, or hide certain comments from specific users. 

A small change was rolled out in June that makes a slight change to this feature. If the original poster replies to a comment made on their content/page, that comment will be promoted over others. Likewise, if a friend of the original poster comments on that content, it will be given more value than if your average user comments on it.

Part of the Group

Fidji, head of Facebook App, showing off Local Communities at the F8 conference

Facebook Groups are changing in a big way. This was mentioned by Zuckerberg at the F8 conference, as he aims to promote both private and public groups that people are free to search for, join and create. From the latest video games to those interested in gardening, groups will be expanded, with improved “Find a Group” features and even a “Suggested Groups” option for those looking for new communities to become a part of. 

There are millions of groups on Facebook already, and you might be a member of a few. These groups will be organised into their own feed for convenience, which should improve functionality and provide further options for members to associate with their groups. It also allows businesses to grow their following organically, with opportunity for business-themed groups that grow as your page does, offering another place for discussion. 

Rewriting History 

As another response to privacy concerns, Facebook is planning to introduce an option that allows users to clear their entire Facebook history. This would remove browsing history on Facebook, similar to the way that internet browsers do. As a result of this, you could remove all the data that Facebook holds on you, such as your perceived interests. 

Naturally, this is worrying advertisers, as many are concerned about the targeting opportunities they could lose if a lot of users decide to use the feature. The intricacies haven’t been announced yet, so this is definitely one to keep an eye on. While it would be extremely beneficial for the average user, advertisers may miss out.

Time to Spare

Keeping on top of all of these updates can be tricky, especially in the fast-paced world of Facebook advertising. If you’re struggling to stay on top, we’ve got a golden ticket for you. We offer both Facebook Advertising and Facebook Remarketing services for businesses across the UK. If you need advice, just give our team a call or use our contact form. We’ll do what we can to help. 

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