Facebook F8: hidden features you didn't know

By Emma Cocker, Copywriter


Facebook’s F8 developer conference kicked off this month by announcing some huge changes to its roster of channels, including Instagram, Whatsapp and Facebook Messenger. It was packed with updates sure to pique any marketer’s interest but, aside from ditching the iconic blue branding, what were the biggest reveals?

Now that we’ve had chance to digest Mark Zuckerberg’s keynote – and the other exciting announcements that came over the two-day summit – it’s time to take a closer look at the impact these changes could have on the look and feel of your daily social media browse. 

Privacy for the people

Zuckerberg’s opening keynote speech said explicitly that ‘the future is private’ – something that Facebook has publicly struggled with over the past few years (read: Cambridge Analytica Files). So while this may be music to many people’s ears, it may have seemed a little obvious to some that the platform would look to appease its users by tightening security – especially when it exposed 87 million of them to a data firm back in 2016. 

In terms of changes though, there are a few that standout amongst the rest. The first being that, when it comes to sending messages through Facebook Messenger, a new security measure means messages will be end-to-end encrypted by default. As a result, Facebook won’t be able to see any of the chat’s contents (something that many people don’t even realise can happen at the minute).

On top of this, the messaging service will be fully integrated with Whatsapp, and there will be more ‘ephemeral ways’ to share content, which basically means that there will no longer be permanent history of chats. 


Heading in the direction of groups and communities, Facebook’s feed will focus more on expanding users’ social circles. Named FB5 by Zuckerberg, this update will mean the appearance of a ‘Groups’ tab, with a personalised feed consisting of updates from the groups and events that you’ve joined or created.

The update will be initially rolled out in the US, and then to the rest of the world soon after. It’s all part of Facebook’s efforts to ensure their users are connected with the things that they are most likely to react to – something that their algorithm already does at the moment.  

Who likes who?

Following last year’s Facebook Dating announcement, this year saw the introduction of ‘Secret Crush’. It’s a new addition to the dating function that allows users to create a secret list of crushes from their friend list, notifying them if one of their crushes also adds them to their list. It’s a new way of getting matches away from swipe to like apps such as Tinder and Bumble, bringing a whole new meaning to the term ‘friends with benefits’.

And, speaking of who likes who, Instagram is trialling hiding the number of likes that a post gets. The new update means that only the account owner will be able to see how many times the like button is pressed on their pictures. Pretty controversial, right? Considering there’s a whole load of marketing strategies based around how many likes a person or product gets.

A new way to post

And finally, after being a photo-based platform since its inception back in 2010, Instagram is allowing users to post without actually taking a photo. Their new update means the account holders can create posts using just words and stickers, rather than having to get their written message across in the caption.

It’s nothing new, as Facebook has been doing something similar for a while. Although it’s hard to imagine how much people will take up the option to post text images, it’s something that could mean we see a lot more messaging coming from brands and influencers, rather than generic product and people shots. 


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