At Facebook’s F8 event last week — the first time they’ve held the event since 2011 — the focus was on developers.
At F8, which will now be an annual event, Mark Zuckerberg and a few other team members spoke about their commitment to making the mobile experience better and allowing developers to “build,” “grow” and “monetize” their apps. The other substantive point Zuckerberg made was that Facebook would start to focus on “putting people first.” In large part this means addressing privacy concerns Facebook users have expressed and giving them more control over which kinds of information they share.
Here are some details about what Facebook unveiled and how it affects businesses and developers.
Facebook Changes that Affect All Users
1. A New Mobile Ad Network: Audience Network
Deb Liu, Facebook’s Product Management Director, announced a new Audience Network, a tool that will allow advertisers to place ads into third-party apps. This is one way that business owners with limited advertising budgets can drive sales using Facebook.
2. A New Mantra: “Move fast with stable infra”
The era of “breaking things” is over — for now. Facebook introduced a “Two-year Core API Stability Guarantee.” Zuckerberg says this will give confidence to developers. The guarantee extends to Login and Sharing features.
3. New Permissions Options: More Control for Users
Plenty of people don’t like to log in anywhere but Facebook with Facebook. Going forward, users will have more control over what information is shared if they do decide to log in via Facebook. Zuckerberg described a “check list” of options that might include things like Friends List, Birthday, Email Address, Public Profile, etc. Users will be able to uncheck any or all of these things. Ultimately it will build trust with users. Along with better permission options comes a mandatory review process for all Facebook apps that ask for more than the most basic information.
4. An Anonymous Login: More Privacy for Users
With the anonymous login, users will no longer have to share their identity or other personal information with applications that they don’t know much about or don’t “trust.” Facebook will still have information about users, but the apps won’t. This also means that users can try apps without having to install them. Apps will still get the benefit of Facebook identity verification and cross-platform sync, and people can easily upgrade to the full Facebook Login experience later on, according to Facebook. (Note: This change is still in beta.)
5. A Promise to Fix Major Bugs within 48 Hours: Fewer Bugs!
Facebook’s mantra before “move fast with stable infra” was “move fast and break things.” The problem with that mentality was that Facebook engineers would sometimes push out products/features that weren’t even close to perfect. Sometimes these “features” didn’t work at all, sometimes they caused problems for users and, often, for developers. It remains to be seen how the new mantra will change things, but we hope it’s for the better.
6. Versioning APIs: More Stability
Developers everywhere are rejoicing over this one. The gist of this is that Facebook will support APIs for two years. This will make the platform more stable and make the Facebook experience better for developers and users.
7. A General Commitment to Mobile: A Better Mobile Experience
Facebook announced three major features that are designed to support mobile applications:
• Mobile Like Button. The new Like button will make it much, much easier to engage with mobile content.
• “Send to Mobile.” This is a new feature that is designed to allow users on desk top computers to send reminders to their mobile devices.
• The Message Dialog. This feature functions like a “Share privately” button. It will allow users to decide whom they are sharing content with.