Facebook offers double reward on ad coding bugs

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Through the end of the year, researchers who alert Facebook to Whitehat coding bugs in advertisements will receive double the usual bounty.

Colin Greene, a Security Engineer at Facebook, explained in a blog post:

Starting today and extending through the end of 2014, all Whitehat bugs in our ads code will receive double bounties. We recently completed a comprehensive security audit of this area ourselves. We found and fixed a number of security bugs but would like to encourage additional scrutiny from Whitehats to see what we might have missed. Also, since the vast majority of bug reports we work on with the Whitehat community are focused on the more common parts of Facebook code, we hope to encourage researchers to become more familiar with the surface area of ads to better protect the businesses that use them.

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How does Facebook develop securely?

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As Facebook celebrates National Cyber Security Awareness Month, the company’s security team talked about how Facebook develops with security squarely in mind.

Benjamin Strahs, Security Infrastructure Engineer, recently served on a panel organized by Bloomberg Government in Washington, D.C., talking Internet security with representatives from the Department of Homeland Security, Google and Microsoft.

He wrote a blog post Monday detailing Facebook’s mission with regard to security:

Security is core to everything we do at Facebook, and we believe everyone at the company plays a role in keeping our platform safe. Building a security-aware culture means understanding that a security vulnerability popping up in HR could be just as serious as one in our back-end systems. We’re currently celebrating our annual tradition of Hacktober, our internal security awareness initiative that runs all month long and pulls together technical and non-technical teams across the company. Employees participate in trainings, talks, activities like movie nights, and drills that test them to identify suspicious behavior like stray USB keys and fake phishing emails. People who join in the fun walk away with special Hacktober t-shirts and other goodies. After running the program for four years, we’ve seen it take off across our global offices and drive participation in our security discussion groups throughout the rest of the year.

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Facebook launches mobile Like button

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Facebook first previewed a mobile Like button at its f8 conference in April, but the company announced today that it is rolling the feature out for anyone. Now app developers can use the Like button to get people to easily become a fan of the page.

Facebook Software Engineer Todd Krabach noted in a blog post that the Like and Share buttons are seen across nearly 10 million websites monthly:

Today, we are excited to make the Like Button available to all Android and iOS mobile app developers. People using a mobile app can directly Like the app’s Facebook Page, or any Open Graph object within the app, and share on Facebook. The mobile Like Button works seamlessly with the Facebook account the person is logged into on their device, allowing people to Like any piece of content, while in your native app.

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Facebook adds label cohorts, retention charts to app analytics

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Facebook on Tuesday introduced two new analytics tools for app developers.

Now app developers will have access to label cohorts and retention charts within app insights. Through label cohorts, developers can create groups of people within their app and measure important factors, such as revenue or time spent in the app, against their app as a whole. With retention charts, developers can analyze how well the app is retaining users over time, making it easier to see if certain changes corresponded to a dip or rise in engagement or retention.

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FbStart update: 17 companies offering support, 500 developers in program

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Facebook’s FbStart program, aimed at helping startup app developers find success on the platform, is growing. The social network announced that there are now 17 companies who have joined Facebook in offering help and support to newer developers.

Braintree, Appmethod and Get Satisfaction are the newest of FbStart’s 17 partners, which offer up to $40,000 in services. So far, the program has accepted more than 500 developers in 63 countries.

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Facebook’s Parse to build team in London

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Parse announced Thursday that the company is expanding across the pond and building a team in London. Since being acquired by Facebook last year, Parse has grown by more than 250 percent. More than 140,000 new developers started building mobile apps on Parse over the past year, with half of them coming from Europe, Middle East and Africa. The new London Parse team will support these developers.

Parse CEO Ilya Sukhar announced the news in a blog post:

The Parse London team will be based out of the Facebook London office, which is moving to a beautiful new location in central London in early June. We’re hiring engineers to help build the next big Parse products and to support products we’re building in collaboration with the Facebook Platform team.

We’re also looking for partner managers and partner engineers who will work directly with the biggest app developers in Europe, helping them to build awesome cross-platform apps using Parse. The team is already working with companies like Deezer, TopShop and Mind Candy.

We prioritize our product road map based on the feedback we get from our customers, and having a team on the ground in London allows us to cater the future of Parse products to the needs of our global community.

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Facebook F8 conference to return April 30

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At South by Southwest in Austin, Parse CEO Ilya Sukhar announced that Facebook will hold another F8 conference — April 30 in San Francisco. This is the first F8 since 2011, where Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg launched Timeline.

The conference will be held at the San Francisco Design Concourse.

Sukhar offered more details in a blog post:

This year, we’re going back to our roots with a developer-focused conference. We will open with a morning keynote, followed by four technical tracks. These tracks will cover everything you need to know about building on the Facebook and Parse platforms, including getting started guides, technical best practices, infrastructure strategies, engineering deep dives, and advertising tips for making your app or game highly successful. We’ll also have special sessions dedicated to exploring how developers can take advantage of open source technologies.

Facebook and Parse engineers and product team members will be available during the conference to provide one-on-one help and advice, and you’ll also have the opportunity to learn from each other throughout the day. We’ll close out the day with a celebration for attendees to unwind with drinks and entertainment.

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Where do Facebook developers come from?

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Facebook released a heat map of developers Tuesday at the Le Web conference, showing which countries have high concentrations of Facebook developers and which countries are emerging.

Among the countries with greater than 10,000 developers: the U.S., Canada, Brazil and France. Facebook released the above heat map, showing the concentration of Facebook developers around the globe.

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6 years since Facebook Platform launch, company looks to provide new app services

platformToday marks the six-year anniversary of the Facebook Platform, something that has been defining for Facebook as a company and already influenced a number of industries.

Now, Facebook is making its next big moves for the platform by introducing app services — new tools for developers that make it easier to build applications that span different devices and put users at the forefront. This is seen most clearly with the acquisition of Parse, a mobile backend as a service company, which will continue as a separate brand with a freemium services model for the time being. Facebook also recently hired the team behind Spaceport, a cross-platform development framework, and stealth software startup Osmeta, which was reportedly working on something related to enabling simpler development across devices.

“We’ve been thinking about how we can provide tools to developers to enable a more cross-platform world,” Facebook Director of Developer Products Doug Purdy said at a media “whiteboard” session Thursday. “We’re trying to create a platform that developers can build something that spans over devices and makes people the center. Regardless of the device that you or your friends are on, everyone can have a rich experience.”
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Facebook releases native share dialog for iOS developers, allows Open Graph sharing without login and permissions

developer-iosFacebook today announced the availability of a new native share dialog for iOS, which will give developers an easy way to incorporate Facebook sharing — including Open Graph actions — in their apps.

The mobile share dialog is a standard tool that enables users to post something back to Facebook. Similar to the Like button, the share dialog can be implemented with a small amount of code across any app and it works even if users haven’t logged into the app using Facebook. The dialog includes support for location tagging, friend tagging, custom privacy settings, deep linking and more.

Previously, mobile developers would have had to program their own sharing mechanism with these features or use the old “feed dialog” or iOS 6 Share Sheet, which are more limited in functionality and can require up to three extra steps for users.

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Unlike Share Sheet, the native share dialog supports Open Graph publishing, as seen in the “read a book” example to the right. This is important because until now, developers had to ask users to log into their app using Facebook and allow various publishing permissions, which some users did not like.

Now, because the share dialog opens up the main Facebook app to complete the action, users don’t need to log into a third-party app with Facebook in order to share back via the Open Graph. As long as users have the Facebook app and are logged into that, they can easily publish to Facebook from any iOS app that uses the share dialog. This could greatly increase the amount of structured sharing through Open Graph verbs and objects.

Facebook first announced the native share dialog, along with other new mobile platform features, in April. However, it was only available in limited beta for iOS until today’s wide release. It is still in development for Android. The company says the share dialog should be used by default in all mobile apps that want to enable users to share something to the social network, even if the apps don’t have deeper Facebook integration, such as login or Open Graph.

[Update: Cut Out + Keep's Tom Waddington pointed us to a mention in Facebook's Javascript SDK that suggests a similar share dialog with Open Graph support could be coming soon for the web.]

Facebook offers a detailed comparison of all of a developer’s options for sharing back to Facebook — including the new share dialog, iOS Share Sheet, web-based feed dialog and Graph API – here. Technical documentation on the native share dialog is available here.

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