Facebook unveils radical design overhaul

Facebook has unveiled a raft of new brand partnerships and design changes aimed to increase dwell time on the site.

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The social network has partnered with brands including Spotify, The Guardian and The Independent to allow users to listen to music and read news without the need to leave the site.

Users can also seamlessly share their activity with partner brands on a newly designed live “ticker” that automatically updates when they interact with media to share the information with friends.

Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg (pictured) told Facebook’s f8 conference in San Francisco: “We are making it so you can connect to anything you want. Now you don’t have to like a book, you can just read a book…you don’t have to like a movie, you can just watch a movie.”

Users’ profile pages have also been overhauled to appear more like an online scrapbook – dubbed Timeline – that can document every year of their lives with the photos they have uploaded, countries they have visited and apps they have interacted with.

Zuckerberg said: “Millions of people curate the stories of their lives on Facebook every day and have no way to share them once they fall off your profile page…the Timeline has three pieces: all your stories, all your apps and a new way to express who you are.”

The Timeline allows users – and brands on their official pages – greater autonomy over the way their design their profile pages, allowing them to highlight the most important aspects of the content that appears there and pick a banner image to cover the top of their page.

Facebook says all the sharing aspects of the new design will be opt in, which should allay initial privacy fears.
It is hoped the new changes will increase users’ dwell time on the website, meaning advertisers are likely to pay higher premiums to engage with its more engaged audience.

Daniel Ek, chief executive of Spotify, which will allow timelines to be populated with users’ listening habits, says: “The more engaged people are means people are more than twice as likely to pay for music. Social discovery on Facebook means we are going back to making people pay for music again.”

Zuckerberg also revealed at the event that half a billion people logged on to Facebook in a single day last week, almost the entire population of the European Union, breaking the internet record for a site outside of search.

Facebook European partners

Spotify
The Guardian
Deezer
Dailymotion and Myvideo
Cinemur
The Independent
Mixcloud and Souncloud
Artfinder

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