Facebook redesigns apps, unveils dating service to 14 more countries

Facebook Inc has unveiled a redesigned app and rolled out its dating feature to 14 more countries as it tries to boost user-engagement on its social network.

The revamped app makes it easier for users to engage with groups of people, who share similar interests, the company said in a blog post.

Facebook said countries including Brazil, Philippines, Vietnam, Singapore and Malaysia will now have access to its dating service, which has been updated with a feature called “Secret Crush’’ that allows users to explore potential romantic relationships within their friend circle.

The company also said that its users would soon be able to ship Marketplace items anywhere in the continental U.S. and pay directly for purchases.

“This means sellers who opt to list items for shipping can reach more buyers and get paid securely – and buyers can browse from a wider selection and be confident that their purchase is protected with buyer protection,’’ Facebook said.

Facebook also introduced a new Events tab that allows users to see what’s happening around them, get recommendations, discover local businesses and coordinate with friends to make plans.

Similarly, Facebook Inc on Tuesday debuted an overhaul of its core social network and introduced new business-focused tools, the first concrete steps in its plan to refashion itself into a private messaging and e-commerce company.

The Chief Executive of Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg, said this while speaking at Facebook’s annual F8 conference, where the company gives developers a peek at new product releases.

“We believe that there is a community for everyone. So we’ve been working on a major evolution to make communities as central as friends,” said Zuckerberg.

Zuckerberg unveiled a fresh design for the world’s biggest social network that de-emphasised its News Feed to instead feature services like its messaging app, online marketplace and video-on-demand site.

Facebook would also introduce Messenger for Mac and Windows, Zuckerberg said.

Facebook will launch a new feature called “Product Catalog” for WhatsApp Business.

The product releases at F8 indicate its answer involves efforts to keep users on its apps for longer, coupled with e-commerce tools Facebook is hoping businesses will pay to use.

Facebook Dating will be expanded into 14 new markets, including places in Asia like the Philippines where Facebook has high user growth.

The company is also courting businesses, giving them ways to chat with customers and conduct transactions, similar to how consumers in China are already shopping on services like WeChat.

Instagram is expanding a sales system introduced in March, allowing public figures, known as influencers, to tag products in their posts so fans can buy them right away.

Sellers on Marketplace will likewise receive payments and arrange shipping directly within Facebook.