New Features for Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp Announced at F8

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Following Facebook’s annual F8 conference that took place in San Jose this week, here’s a breakdown of all the latest features that are coming to the Facebook, Messenger, Instagram, and WhatsApp group. Most of these additions focus on shopping features, as Facebook looks to maximise on in-app spending, but there are a number of updates that will be useful to test in both a business and personal capacity across all four of the platforms.


Find new friends on Facebook

Step aside ‘People You May Know’! It’s all about, what we’re calling, ‘People You May Want to Meet’! Facebook is trying to encourage friendships and meeting new people by suggesting potential friends based on your job, school, location, and interests. We’re keen to see where this goes and how it’s received – can a social network that’s often bashed for being a barrier between human interaction and the development of social skills, actually facilitate both?

Facebook Groups are getting more features

Today, there are over 400 million people in Groups on Facebook. These niche communities haven’t had much of an overhaul in terms of features until now. Over the coming months, Facebook will work to improve a Group’s discoverability as current searches tend to prioritise those with higher numbers over the relevancy of the group to the search query. Furthermore, in response to a rise in health and support groups, an anonymous posting feature will help people to feel confident to post without repercussions or embarrassment around being identified.

Facebook gets the biggest design overhaul of its life

You may have noticed an update to the reaction emojis… but that was just the first stage. Stepping away from the blue branding for the first time since its creation, Facebook has rolled out it’s new white design on mobile in the US, and will continue to be update on global desktop devices over the coming months.

Facebook Dating adds ‘Secret Crush’

This probably won’t influence your business strategy unless you offer a dating service or love advice, but Facebook Dating is adding a new feature where you can mark that you have a ‘secret crush’ on one of your Facebook friends. If they’ve also selected you, you’ll both get a notification, but if your love is unrequited, they’ll never know.


Shopping tags are coming to Influencers on Instagram

Partly to fight back against ad transparency on the platform, and to increase its appeal for shopping and brand collaborations, Instagram is add ‘shopping tags’ to some Influencer’s posts so that they can tag products, allowing followers to make a purchase directly through the app. It’s not yet clear how accessibility to this feature will be distributed, but at the moment it is not available to everyone.

Instagram follows in the footsteps of Facebook’s Charitable Giving Feature

Following the success of Facebook’s Charitable Giving Feature (you may have notices Facebook wants you to raise money for a charity when your birthday comes around), Instagram is adding a Donation Sticker to stories that will allow users to promote an organisation so followers can make an easy donation. So far, there is a limited list of charities that can be donated to without any fees attached. This could be a way to encourage users to save their card details to the platform, making other in-app transactions, like shopping, easier in the future.

Create Mode comes to Instagram

In response to users adding GIFs and Text posts to their Instagram Stories, the platform  has added a Create Mode that will allow you to do all that in the app. Before, you may have needed to download a GIF or create the background photo for a text post in Facebook Messenger, but now you can do it straight into the app.

Instagram has also overhauled the editor to also make it easier to access more ‘advanced features’ that previously were hard to access or understand. This should help content creators to produce more engaging stories that suit their audience without the use of other apps or advanced technical skills.

Views and Likes will be hidden on Instagram

‘It’s not just about the likes or the number of views’, says Instagram, instead the platform wants to discourage this obsession, and instead get both content creators and followers to focus on the content itself. It’s discouraging for those just trying to follow a trend or jump on the bandwagon just because something appears to be popular.

Hiding views and likes on posts from both creators and followers is being tested in Canada to see how this affects engagement. The idea is to encourage users to stay ‘more true to themselves’ in the content they post, whilst also alleviating some of the stress and anxiety some might feel around the number of likes on their content. However, these numbers will still be available in a users’ analytics.


Add your product catalogue to WhatsApp

Businesses on WhatsApp can already create a ‘business profile’ with an overview of their company and contact information. Now, businesses can add their entire catalogue to their profile to allow customers to browse stock and order directly through the app. This is a game changer for small businesses that rely on business through WhatsApp and don’t have their own website, which is especially common in India.


Want to watch a video together…now you can!

Do you have one of those group chats on Messenger, where a select few people all share the same kind of content? Our Digital Marketing Specialist, Kelly, is particularly into meme culture, and has a couple of group chats that exclusively share related images or videos between its members. To appeal to users that love a group chat and use group calling, Facebook is testing a “group watch” feature, where people can invite others to watch a video together in real time while messaging or on a video chat, like a private Twitch.

And finally… Messenger is coming to desktop!

Messenger is getting its own desktop app that will integrate with PCs and Macs to let you know when you have a message without the distraction of opening Facebook just to read them. The Messenger app will include all the same features as the mobile version, like group calling, that haven’t previously been available on desktop versions.

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