Here are all the new features coming to Facebook, Instagram and Messenger apps

At F8, CEO Mark Zuckerberg unveils several new features coming to Facebook's apps, like dating and Watch Party. Also: some virtual reality bunnies!

Alfred Ng Senior Reporter / CNET News
Alfred Ng was a senior reporter for CNET News. He was raised in Brooklyn and previously worked on the New York Daily News's social media and breaking news teams.
Alfred Ng
3 min read

Facebook is looking to be a jack of all trades with new features coming to its apps. 

At F8, the social network's annual conference, CEO Mark Zuckerberg introduced several new additions for the company's apps, including Instagram and Messenger, that position Facebook to take on other apps, like Snapchat, Tinder and Houseparty

The features dive into the worlds of augmented reality filters, online dating, and social streaming, which are all things that popular existing apps already focus on. But Facebook has an advantage they don't: 2.2 billion active users.

Watch this: All the things that mattered at Facebook's F8

The conference has become a platform for Zuckerberg to discuss Facebook's role in the world as one of the internet's most powerful companies. He introduced each of the new features as a way to help bring people closer together -- the company's motto since 2017. 

"Across all our products, our goal is to give everyone in the world the power to share anything they want, with anyone, anywhere," Zuckerberg said. "To build stronger relationships, to break down geographic barriers, and to meet new people and interact in new ways." 

Here's a breakdown of the new features Zuckerberg announced for all of Facebook's apps: 


Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg

Watch Party lets people join a livestream with friends so everyone can watch and comment together.


Watch Party: Think Facebook Live, or Twitch, but the stream has only you and your friends in the live chat. Zuckerberg introduced the feature by using his own visit to Congress as an illustration.

"Let's say that your friend is testifying in Congress, for example," he said. "Now you're going to be able to bring your friends together, and you can laugh together and cry together." 

Groups tab, Join Group button: The Groups tab brings all your groups together in one place. Zuckerberg said it's so groups can be "more central to the overall Facebook experience." 

Facebook is also making a Join Group button available to embed on websites so people can easily join outside the social network. 

The new dating feature for Facebook's app.

The new dating feature for Facebook's app.


Dating: The new feature matches you up with others who opted in for a dating profile on Facebook. Zuckerberg said your friends won't see the profile, and the feature will match you only with Facebook users you aren't friends with already.

Watch this: Find a date on Facebook

"This is going to be for building real, long-term relationships, not just hook-ups," Zuckerberg said. The profiles include your photo, your name, job, where you live and where you studied. 


Topic Channels: Zuckerberg said Facebook is redesigning its Explore tab, with Topic Channels. Instead of a compilation of all the images you might be interested in, viewers will be able to browse by topics related to their hobbies and other enthusiasms.

"Now your Explore is going to be even more focused on the things you're interested in," Zuckerberg said.


Group video chats are coming to Instagram.


Video Chat: Now people can video chat on Instagram, whether it's one-on-one or in a large group. People can also minimize the video to chat while continuing to browse through Instagram. 


Zuckerberg shows off one of the new AR filters for Instagram.

James Martin/CNET

AR Camera Effects: These are camera effects Facebook announced at F8 in 2017. The new development is that they're coming to Instagram, which lets people take photos or videos with virtual effects in the frame, like a cartoon character dunking a basketball. 

Watch this: Instagram gets new AR camera effects and live video chat

People will be able to see a library of effects they can use, as well as try out effects they've seen used in other stories. Developers can also create their own effects, Zuckerberg said.



Zuckerberg said the new Messenger will be faster and simpler.


Redesign: Facebook is redesigning the Messenger app with a simpler and cleaner look, Zuckerberg said. The redesign will provide a much faster experience for the app, he said. 

Watch this: Facebook redesigns Messenger with AR camera effects and instant language translation

Zuckerberg showing off one of the new AR filters for Facebook Messenger.

James Martin/CNET

AR Camera Effects: Like the effects coming to Instagram, Facebook will also be folding augmented reality effects into messenger. Zuckerberg demonstrated these new features by showing clips of himself with a digital mustache and with bunny ears.

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