Facebook profiles have changed little since the social network launched Timeline in 2011, until now. Last week, Facebook announced a redesign of mobile profile pages that introduce looping profile videos, temporary profile pictures, new privacy controls and other design changes.
Profile pages, though dwarfed by the popularity of news feed, still receive more than 4 billion views every day, the social network says. Coupled with the rise of video on the social network, Facebook says it was time for an update.
“The world has changed since we first introduced profiles in 2004. On news feed and profiles, we’re seeing people create and view more videos than ever before,”it said in a blog post. “We believe these improvements to profile will give people more ways to connect and share with each other, and express themselves in meaningful ways.”
Facebook is launching these new features first in the U.K. and California, with more locations to follow. Here’s what you need to know about what’s new.
1. Redesigned profile page
Facebook is making your profile picture—or looping profile picture—bigger, and moving it front-and-center at the top of your profile, in place of its traditional left alignment.
It’s also customizing which friends are highlighted based on who’s viewing your profile: “People love seeing photos and mutual friends when viewing the profiles of friends or someone they’ve just met, so those are easier to see now on profile,”Facebook says. These sections have moved to the top of the page.
Also visible at the top of profile pages are your work, location and education information. Moving this information to the top might persuade users to keep these details updated—a win for Facebook advertisers, which can use it to better target ads.
2. Looping profile videos
The most significant change Facebook announced is the ability to add short GIF-like videos in place of your profile picture. This feature is rolling out slowly, and only to iPhone users first.
To find the feature, open the Facebook app on your iPhone then tap the More button on the bottom-right of the screen. Tap your name to access your profile, then tap your current profile picture. In the menu that appears, you’ll either see “Coming Soon: Profile Videos” or “Take a New Profile Video.” If you have the feature, tap it to record a short video or upload one from your Camera Roll.
3. Temporary profile pictures
Also new is the capability to set a particular profile picture for a period of time that reverts back to your previous one after time has expired. Facebook says this feature stemmed from its Celebrate Pride filter, which more than 26 million people used.
Users might choose this option if they want to support a sports team leading up to game time or commemorate a milestone like a birthday, Facebook says. When you receive this feature, you’ll find editing tools in the profile picture uploader that lets you crop and add text and stickers to your new profile picture. You’ll also have the option to set this picture as your default for a period of time.
4. New profile privacy controls
The “View As”feature, which you can find on the desktop version of your profile page, has traditionally been the only way to see what others see when they look at your profile. Facebook is introducing a new customizable space at the top of your profile that pulls information from your “About Me”page and includes inline privacy settings.
Information you have set to public will appear automatically in this section, which you can change by editing the new, inline privacy settings. You can also craft a 100-character bio that supports emojis, which will appear below your profile picture. Finally, a new photo carousel will highlight up to five photos you choose to showcase at the top. This space is visible to anyone who visits your profile, but you control the information that appears there.
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