"The only constant is change," said the Greek philosopher Heraclitus. We can't prove it, but we're pretty sure he talked about Facebook updates.
Sometimes his changes enjoy (see: Introducing Messenger). Sometimes they cause mass crimes (see: literally every time the interface is redesigned). However, one thing is certain: Facebook never rests on its laurels.
There is always something new in the works, which means there are always new ways for your brand to stand out from the competition.
For this reason, we will update this page regularly and highlight the most important Facebook updates every month. Be sure to check back often (and maybe even bookmark this page?).
Bonus: Download a free guide Here's how to use Hootsuite to convert Facebook traffic into revenue in four easy steps.
Top Facebook updates you need to know in 2020
July 2020 Facebook updates
Take action against hate
In response to the feedback from the civil rights community, Facebook is making changes to policies and communications to reflect more transparent – and hopefully fairer – systems.
As part of this, Facebook participated in a civil rights review and published a diversity report.
They have also expanded their voter suppression policies to ban ads that bother or intimidate voters, and introduced a strict policy on interference from censuses.
Facebook also promises to surpass existing protection against hate speech through more specific anti-hate advertising bans.
Find out here about the full scope of Facebook's ongoing anti-hate measures.
Extended markets for the launch of Instagram Shop and Facebook Pay
After the launch of the Facebook shops in May, companies in supported markets (the full list can be found here) can now sell products directly via Instagram with the Instagram shop.
Integrate your existing e-commerce platform or create a catalog in Facebook Business Manager. Once you've connected your products to your Insta account, send your shop for review and wait with your thumbs up.
If you have activated the shopping function, you can use shopping labels or stickers to highlight your goods in your feed or in your stories. Let the shopping spree begin.
You can find detailed information on setting up your shop here.
New emoji upgrades in Messenger
In honor of World Emoji Day (July 17th), Messenger revised its standard sticker pack (Moodies).
The little faces you know and love – the cool, the barfing, the whole gang – have an elegant new look and bubbly, animated flourishes.
Is it a big update? No, but it's cute.
App Lock for Facebook Messenger
To keep your group chats safe, Facebook introduces the option to add another layer of security with fingerprint or face authentication via App Lock.
Even if your phone is unlocked and app lock is turned on, Messenger will appear illegible – with a kind of frosty overlay – until you use your face or fingerprint to unlock it.
This provides a degree of certainty that when your brother flips through your phone to choose a cute road trip song, he won't see the messages your sister sent you about him.
This feature is now available for iOS users and should be available for Android in the fall.
Screen sharing is now available in the Messenger mobile app
In a time of social distancing, we have never been so grateful for the technology that brings us closer – and with so many video chat apps currently available, everyone is trying to offer the best connection options.
For this reason, Facebook has just added the "Share screen" option to its messenger apps for mobile devices and web applications.
Now formal activities can be translated side by side on the screen while you continue chatting. Search an online shop together, browse through the recipe options or look back on travel photos from those glorious days when we were able to leave the house.
Screen sharing is available with the latest update of the app.
Choose your layout for posts with multiple images
The next time you upload a series of photos, you may be able to choose their layout as Facebook is slowly introducing new photo post options.
The platform has been testing this visual tool since October, but it looks like this new composer functionality is being handled in bulk at this point.
That being said, it doesn't seem to have appeared for Pages users (yet!), So you may need to save your layout creativity to your personal account for now.
Facebook will shortly offer you layout options when posting multiple images. Pic.twitter.com/8K23afZ9bp
– Matt Navarra (@MattNavarra), July 14, 2020
Create custom audiences from interested or past customers
In Facebook’s Ad Manager, you can now target ads specifically to people who have read or bought your products.
Click the Custom Audience option. A "Shopping" category will appear. Below you will find people who viewed your products, people who added products to the shopping cart, or people who made a purchase.
With this information, you can address the target audience of buyers who are most likely to follow or return to your page and increase engagement.
Make live video calls with up to 50 participants
Do you have a group video call for the world to see? Facebook is on the case. By combining Messenger Rooms video chat capabilities with live stream services, users can now send video calls with up to 50 participants.
Think of it as a combination of video chats and live streams, and it's clear that the opportunities for a brand are quite fascinating. This could mean interesting opportunities for TV show meetings, networking, interactive live tutorials or courses and beyond.
These calls can be sent from a single profile, on a Facebook page, or within a group. The call originator can allow or block participants or block calls together.
Zoom is already trembling: When Messenger Rooms came on the market in April, inventories fell by 5%. So who knows what this advanced feature could mean for the video conferencing brand?
June 2020 Facebook updates
Financial support for gamers
Facebook is expanding its streaming subscription options to attract players from Twitch and Youtube.
Fans can now support players with live streaming with tips and donations, and players can also access in-stream commercial breaks. These ads can be pre-roll, mid-roll, or an image below the stream.
All streamers who see at least 250 regular weekly viewers can register with the Level Up program to access these features (and the associated sweet pay days).
Find out more about these fan subscriptions and level up here.
Facebook collections can now be shared (at least in the United States).
With the collection function on Facebook, users can archive links, photos, pages and posts for later access. This month, Facebook announced a new sharing feature that could be used to publish these lists. This could offer some interesting opportunities for business partnerships. (Unfortunately, this is a feature that is currently only available in the U.S. market.)
Watch out, Pinterest. Influencers could create sponsored lists to share with followers ("My Favorite Mexico City Restaurants"), or companies could share branded content (like "Best Cocktail Recipes" for a vodka company).
Maybe our first list should be a list of how practical lists will be?
New -. @ Facebook shared #facebookcollections. Can share links, photos, posts, etc. that can be followed. #curatedcontent pic.twitter.com/Oah4eXW9dz
– whimchic (@whimchic) 13 June 2020
The setting of data protection considerably simplifies compliance with the CCPA
Any company that sells to customers in California is likely already familiar with the California Consumer Privacy Act (CPPA), which grants residents the right to control their personal information.
Facebook's new "Restricted Data Use" feature makes it easier to comply with the CPPA. By activating this function, companies that send data to Facebook can restrict the actual use of this data by Facebook.
Once applied, Facebook technically acts as a company's service provider while processing information about California customers, complying with the state's unique privacy laws, and protecting both your business and consumer data.
New email marketing tools now available for small businesses
A small number of small businesses are testing Facebook's new email marketing tools.
If you're one of the lucky few torn out of the dark to be an FB guinea pig, you can send group emails and track performance – all on the Facebook platform.
Upload the contact information of the subscribers (of course with permission) and then optimize the demographic data of your target group and adapt your design.
If the test runs prove to be helpful for companies, the option may continue to be introduced. With so many other marketing email solutions, however, it is not certain that this tool will stand the test of time.
Send marketing emails from your side? What new magic is this Facebook ?!
Have you seen this new feature that we can now use to send emails directly from Facebook? This is definitely new to me and so far only available on one account. pic.twitter.com/aSIkSx1uDo
– Meg Coffey (@TexanMeg) June 1, 2020
Facebook warns if an article is older than 90 days
In another attempt to fight fake or outdated messages, Facebook announced a new pop-up feature to warn users when a story is older than three months.
The aim is to highlight the timeliness (or rather the lack of it) of news sources, in an attempt to contain non-contextual stories that could affect understanding of current events.
The context button Facebook added in 2018 may not have done much to suppress the spread of hoaxes. However, we hope that this addition will have an impact.
May 2020 Facebook updates
Facebook launches mobile-friendly native shops
This may not be the first swing Facebook did in in-platform shopping, but Facebook Shops is definitely the best so far.
As in previous iterations, you can upload product images and descriptions to your digital boutique, but now users can convert and check out directly in the app.
With Facebook Shops you can chat with customers via WhatsApp, Messenger or Instagram Direct Messaging to offer support or personal shopping advice.
In addition, companies can customize the look of e-shops with in-house fonts and colors. Fancy!
The group chat app "CatchUp" is started for group calls
At a time when staying connected is more difficult than ever, CatchUp wants to help bridge the distance. Imagine this as a pure language version of Messenger Rooms, which enables individual or group calls for up to eight people.
Unlike other group chat apps, CatchUp indicates when users are available and "ready to speak" (similar to HouseParty). It's an attempt to overcome people's hesitation with the old-fashioned phone call: they don't want to interrupt.
Facebook will test the app for a limited time in the United States. We have to see if it stays.
April 2020 Facebook updates
The Ads Manager status tool was introduced to track failures
By adding a new ad status page, ad buyers can track whether the platform itself is experiencing problems.
All major changes to the main tracking metrics (from impressions to the amount reached) are also reported here, so that you can keep up to date with every small optimization.
The Ad Reporting Tool is also updated
Facebook announced updates to a variety of ad reporting tools – all the better for brands to measure campaign performance.
Access cross-account reports, custom metrics, and conversion paths to see how your campaign behaves like never before in graphical detail.
Messenger comes to the desktop
If chatting in the browser or in the mobile app is not a convenient option for you, the new Facebook Messenger desktop app enables group chats and videos directly on your computer desktop – it doesn't even require a Facebook account.
"Quiet Mode" introduced
With the recent introduction of Quiet mode in both the browser and the mobile phone, all notifications can be muted in one fell swoop, similar to the iOS "do not disturb" function.
Keep the bumps and pings to a minimum so you can actually get some work done.
Improved accessibility for live streaming
While live video streams on Facebook were certainly popular, the real-time broadcast format has created an entry barrier for those who rely on screen readers or have a hearing impairment.
To address this issue, Facebook announced the launch of a new audio-only live mode with the option for automatic subtitles.
Automatic subtitles aren't always perfect, but they're better than nothing and hopefully allow hearing-impaired users to follow your content.
March 2020 Facebook updates
New Facebook is launched worldwide
While the new Facebook redesign – the fifth most important in the platform's history – was launched for mobile users in late 2019, we can finally see it on desktops this month.
There are major aesthetic changes here: The modern layout is a cleaner, more minimalist design and offers the possibility to switch between the pure white and the dark mode.
The user interface is also redesigned with this redesign, with activities of groups and events being preferred over newsfeed content. The Groups tab has also been redesigned to make it easier to find new groups to join.
Certain communities also benefit from additional functions: for example, a new chat option for game groups or improved interactions with Facebook Live.
To bring the new Facebook design to your desktop, simply select "Switch to new Facebook" from the "Settings" drop-down menu. And if you don't have it on your phone yet, just update your app.
COVID-19 delays ad review
A Facebook announcement earlier this month found that staffing changes and changes to the moderation process could result in errors or delays in the ad review process.
The platform has also banned advertising or e-commerce product contributions that try to use the fear of the virus to increase sales. There are no magical remedies for sale here.
Facebook not only discourages advertising campaigns, but also tests tools to reduce the spread of misinformation about COVID-19 on WhatsApp and Messenger. If a rumor about a miracle drug appears in your chat, you will also be asked to check and confirm your sources.
New "Mood" frames are coming to Facebook Stories
Repeat these feelings with the new mood function in FB Stories, which uses the power of GIFs for self-expression.
Change the frame and background color to further personalize what Michelle, who eats her body weight in spaghetti on full house, really means to you.
Source: Screenshot of the Facebook app
Express yourself with custom avatar stickers
Facebook is following in the footsteps of its Bitmoji ancestors and is now introducing personalized humanoid stickers for use in comments, messengers, stories and posts.
Options for customizing hairstyles, outfits, skin tones and accessories offer a wide range of styles, from the headscarf to the side buzz.
How to create yours in the Facebook mobile app:
- Tap the three-line menu
- Scroll down and choose "See More".
- Select "Avatar" and follow the instructions
Source: Screenshot of the Facebook app
Convert photos to 3D images
Any 2D image can be turned into a 3D masterpiece using Facebook's latest photo tool. The technology simulates the depth within a normal photo so that users can “tilt” like a 360-degree image.
It's an opportunity to pop a boring old product photo and draw attention to the news feed – no 3D glasses required!
February 2020 Facebook updates
The Facebook tool "Clear History" is now available worldwide
It's been a while in test markets, but the "Clear History" option is now available to Facebook users worldwide. If you are asked to do a data protection review, you have the option to delete all of your off-Facebook activity.
This is finally an opportunity to see all of the data Facebook has stored and tracked in relation to your other internet activities and to delete it from your servers if you wish.
One-time notification API available for Facebook Messenger
To protect Facebook users from spam, company sites are only given 24 hours to respond to messages. Sending messages to people outside of this area is not allowed (unless you are using advertising campaigns).
However, a new one-time notification API is the exception to the rule. Users can choose to enable one-time notifications via Messenger for relevant messages, e.g. B. Product availability or notification of a future sale.
Facebook is working with Reuters to provide advanced fact-checking services
To curb misinformation and propaganda that has been widespread on the social media website in recent years, Facebook is working with Reuters to expand efforts to verify facts.
The news organization helps Facebook detect and correct false messages when they are published so that users can more easily identify biased or fake sources.
Learn more about Facebook's third-party fact-checking program here.
Creator Studio Mobile App released
The mobile tool supports the management of pages on the go and offers the same functions as the browser-supported Creator Studio in an app format.
A simplified mobile dashboard allows users to upload and publish content and connect with the audience.
With this new tool, you can check your findings and analyzes on the go.
Download here for Android or iOS.
Source: Google Play Store
January 2020 Facebook updates
Policy Ad Policy Update
The amount of political and social issues that come up on Facebook and Instagram can frankly be stressful, and Facebook obviously knows this, as the ad settings settings have recently been expanded to include a control so users can see fewer ads with political content.
Site management history now available
For pages managed by multiple people, the new Page Management History tool can be helpful.
It's a brand new feature that shows every action that has ever been performed on your page, who did it and when … perfect to track both mistakes and smart moves back to the source.
Here's how to view it.
After you are familiar with Facebook updates, you can use Hootsuite to manage your brand's Facebook presence. With a single dashboard, you can schedule posts, share videos, engage your audience, and measure the impact of your efforts. Try it for free today.