The new Facebook app launches today

There's a new Facebook app coming today, pushing groups to the fore, introducing a new icon, and even getting rid of the blue. Announced by Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg today at the opening keynote of the F8 2019 developer conference, it's the fifth generation of Facebook as we know it.

Internally, the update is known as FB5. As Zuckerberg describes it, it's actually the biggest change for Facebook in the past five years. First up will be a new app, with a new version of Facebook in the browser to follow.

Most striking from the outset is going to be the color change. The current Facebook app is notable for its blue color scheme. Now, though, it's switching to a far more minimalistic white, with grey frames and less ostentatious graphics.

The icon, too, is getting an update. Gone is the "squircle" icon we're familiar with, and in its place will be a circular version.

Part of the focus of the new app will be driving Facebook Groups. They'll be easier to find in the app, as well as easier to join and create. Perhaps recognizing the growing criticisms of Facebook as a place where fake news has been shared and even promoted, and indeed where hate groups have gathered and organized, Zuckerberg took pains to highlight the tools that will be available to manage unacceptable content.

For instance, there'll be easy access to tools to report groups. That'll include for reasons of hate speech and violence, along with harassment and bullying, but also things like spam, adult content, and unauthorized sales.

The desktop version of Facebook will follow the app in getting a revamp, too. Again, the blue color scheme has been left behind, replaced with a cleaner, white UX. Zuckerberg says that it will be less of a wholesale change than refinements across the ways people interact with their Facebook account, whether the wall, in groups, or in Messenger chats.

The new Facebook app will be rolling out from today in the US and several other markets. As for when Facebook F5 will roll out to the desktop browser, that's not expected to happen until later in the year.