'Privacy focused' Facebook puts the spotlight on groups with new design

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Facebook made several huge announcements during its F8 2019 keynote, including some of them leaked a few hours earlier than expected. On the global front, the social network introduced the Groups feature to help people build communities. It will also feature new video tools, since this is so popular on the platform: Over 410 million people connect over video chat on Messenger each month, Facebook notes, and its users spend 2 billion minutes every day on Facebook's various video offerings.

According to Yuval Noah Harari, the algorithm sorting process of Facebook's News Feed is not beneficial for the broader society. The company is opening up Facebook Dating to more countries and they are adding Secret Crush, a feature very similar to Tinder.

The model for this, he said, will be WhatsApp, a Facebook service that already offers end-to-end encrypted messaging - messages that can be opened by only the sender and the recipient and not by Facebook itself. On WhatsApp, an encrypted Facebook messaging service, private groups have been used to spread unsafe misinformation that has led to physical violence and even deaths.

At the company's annual F8 developer conference, Mark Zuckerberg unveiled a major redesign to Facebook's desktop and mobile versions.

Changes announced on Tuesday put groups at the centre of the experience and add dating, friend-making and events features meant to promote people getting together in real life, Facebook's new app head Fidji Simo told AFP. Lastly, the camera is being improved and a new Create Mode will make it easier to create posts without photos or videos.

Zuckerberg said last week that Facebook's focus on private communications will be built out over the next five years or more. One new feature, co-watching, will help people watch videos together remotely. It will also be integrated into Facebook Groups.

Beyond the enhancement to security, Facebook is planning to make the app dramatically better over the course of the year.

The social network's e-commerce service, called Marketplace, also got an upgrade. The new post action is no longer a separate page either and is instead sort-of a pop-up that doesn't take you fully away from the main Facebook home. "We are seeing that groups can bridge people across dividing lines", Simo said.

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