MENLO PARK, Calif. — On Tuesday at its annual developer conference, Facebook unveiled a redesign of its mobile app and desktop site. The revisions add new features to promote group-based communications instead of News Feed, where people publicly post a cascade of messages and status updates.
With the changes, users can more easily message one another and share news and other items with members of private groups on the site, the company said. Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg is working to integrate and encrypt Facebook’s different messaging services, which include WhatsApp and Messenger. The company also plans to continue emphasizing its Stories product, which allows people to post updates that disappear after 24 hours. It also unveiled a spare, stark white look for Facebook.
The features, when combined, “will end up creating a more trustworthy platform,” Zuckerberg said. “Everywhere you can see and connect with friends, you’ll be able to see and connect with groups; it’s going to be woven into the fabric of Facebook.”
The redesign is the most tangible sign of how the privacy scandals and user-data issues that have roiled Facebook are forcing change at the company.
Facebook is also playing catch-up with people’s shifting social media behavior. Questions about the benefits of social media and more recognition of its ills have prompted many to turn toward methods of private communications, such as messaging apps.
Eventually, Zuckerberg said, Facebook plans to roll out dozens of small-product updates across its four main apps of WhatsApp, Instagram, Messenger and Facebook.
The initial new features alter the site but do not amount to a full-scale overhaul. Facebook is adding a Groups tab to its main mobile app and desktop menus, for example. Recommendations for groups that users may want to join will pop up in various areas of the app. Messages meant for close friends and family will have their own section inside Facebook Messenger.
Facebook also revealed other changes. It plans to roll out its Dating feature to more than a dozen new countries; the service is not available in the United States. Instagram introduced new digital shopping and commerce features inside the app.
And Facebook’s Craigslist competitor, called Marketplace, integrated shipping and payment capabilities for the first time.