In the history of Facebook, there have been four major redesigns. The latest one, FB5, otherwise known as The New Facebook, might be the most dramatic of them all. It's a total shift in how Facebook looks and works on desktop and mobile.
Don't have a meltdown. It's been many years since a massive design change came to Facebook, so this news is both welcomed and much-needed, even if it's jarring. To help you navigate the change, we're breaking down what to expect.
What is The New Facebook?
At the F8 2019 conference, Facebook executives announced the social network plans to push out a massive redesign called The New Facebook. It's an interface update that will place a bigger emphasis on Groups and Events - two of the biggest reasons people visit Facebook on a daily basis. This subsequently also means that the News Feed will be featured way less in The New Facebook.
Both the desktop website and the mobile app will automatically receive the update, hopefully making Facebook easier to navigate while also modernising its look for the new decade. Facebook described it as a cleaner design, with more of an all-white look and even a dark mode option.
When will The New Facebook arrive?
Facebook originally promised the redesign would begin immediately rolling out to mobile users, with desktop users to follow later.
As of January 2020, the update for desktop users is missing in action. But, according to CNET, Facebook has finally begun giving some users access to the new look on the web. Facebook itself has confirmed it plans to offer the update "more broadly" by spring 2020.
It's already rolling out to mobile users. To get it, make sure you're running the latest version of the Facebook mobile app.
How does The New Facebook look and work?
Visually, Facebook's redesign is carried throughout the desktop and mobile apps. It's a cleaner, brighter, more contemporary Facebook. Here’s a look at CEO Mark Zuckerberg showing off the mostly-white design at the F8 2019 conference:
If you're not a fan of all the bright look, you'll be happy to know that, because dark modes have become a huge trend in the past year, Facebook has decided to offer its own dark mode for web users in this update. (Go here to learn how to get this dark mode now for Messenger.)
Here’s a quick video from Facebook showing off the look:
Here's a closer look at FB5, including Dark Mode for web, coming soon. pic.twitter.com/Z55iUOdekr— Facebook (@Facebook) April 30, 2019
News Feed and Groups
Perhaps the biggest change to Facebook is the News Feed. Facebook is doubling down on group communities and private interactions and has suggested we can expect a major disruption in how we get our content from Facebook in the future. It floated the notion that friends and family should be the core of our social lives. So, Facebook Groups will now be prioritised and surfaced more to you.
That doesn't mean the News Feed is dead. In fact, press imagery for The New Facebook still shows a stream of status updates.
Facebook said the Groups Tab has been overhauled to make finding new groups that you might be interested in even easier. The feed for groups will also serve up recent activity within groups you’re a member of and may even replace the News Feed as the default feed. You’ll also see more connections among groups and the Facebook features you use the most, such as Marketplace or Facebook Watch.
There will also be new features events and for specific communities, like Chat for Gaming Groups, as well as interaction improvements for Facebook Live and those who use it for buying and selling purposes.
How to get The New Facebook now
Unfortunately, there doesn't appear to be a way to force the update.
But a "small percentage" of Facebook desktop users are reportedly now getting a pop-up alert inviting them to help test The New Facebook."
If you sign in to the Facebook website from your browser and receive this alert, you'll need to consent to the trial. Facebook will then switch on the interface update and let you choose between a white background with bright icons or a dark mode. Facebook is also reportedly offering you the option to switch back to the old Facebook design at any time.
You'll be able to provide feedback on the new look, as well.