When Facebook hosted its first F8 developer conference a decade ago, the social media giant was used by a paltry 20 million people, it had yet to develop the famous “Like” button, and about 750 people attended.
One of the biggest announcements to come out of that event was the debut of Facebook Platform, Facebook’s set of APIs for third-party developers to build applications using its data. Now, 10 years later, Facebook boasts more than 1.8 billion monthly active users, more than 4,000 people are on hand for F8, and Platform is still going strong.
At the event, Facebook announced new features and updates to open Platforms up to more developers and businesses and enhance the service for those already using it. During a briefing on the announcements, Ime Archibong, Facebook’s vice president of product partnerships, invoked an economic principle called the Multiplier Effect when talking about the new Platform innovations, which fall into four main categories.
“This idea that if you invest in the right way it builds upon itself, this Multiplier Effect happens and you get outsized returns that you never even imagined based off your initial investment. I see that kind of impact happening in our community,” Archibong said during a pre-briefing with reporters on the new features.
Facebook says more than 1 billion people engaged with places on Facebook in January alone. Facebook’s Places Graph encompasses more than 140 million places around the world, ranging from restaurants and parks to retail stores and local businesses.
Facebook is opening this resource up to developers. Businesses can use information about these places to build location-specific promotions for customers.
Facebook wants to empower developers all around the world, not just people in tech hubs like Seattle and Silicon Valley. To do that, Facebook is officially announcing a new program for developers to connect, learn, and collaborate with other local developers called Developer Circles.
Facebook has been piloting the program for the last year or so. Each circle is led by local developers, who manage an online community and organize interactions among the group.
“When you’re building for the globe, it’s a different game than when you’re building for a couple hundred developers based in Silicon Valley in the United States,” Archibong said.
Facebook added a variety of ways to track how a business’ social media presence affects its bottom line to its suite of analytics, now under the new name of Facebook Analytics. More than a million apps, bots and websites have used analytics through Facebook since the launch two years ago.
Facebook is extending its omni-channel analytics services by adding the ability to measure interactions, such as post likes and shares, on a business’ Facebook Page compared to other activity on the company website, app, or bot. This would help a business be able to see if people who like a post featuring an item go on to view that item on the website, or purchase it in the app.
Facebook doesn’t want business owners to waste a bunch of time looking for stats, so it is using machine learning for a new program called Automated Insights, which automatically identifies and flags trends and anomalies, like how sales are impacted by an updated store app, or how engagement varies in different cities.
Facebook has added the ability to customize dashboards displaying all these analytics.
Facebook says 85 percent of the top 100 grossing apps in the U.S. use Facebook Login, which allows users to create accounts on different sites and apps using their Facebook account. Facebook has added the ability to let people use their Facebook account as a backup for when they lose their passwords. And the social media giant created an Express Login that reminds people who re-downloaded an app or got a new device that they have already used Facebook credentials to login.
The Account Kit allows for email or phone number login. Facebook has added voice call verification and the ability to use the service through a Basic Web version for areas with low connectivity. Facebook has also added more ways for businesses to track and communicate with customers who use their Facebook information to sign into an app or website.