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3 Major Developments to Come Out of Facebook’s f8 Conference

Written by: Per Sandell, VP Product

Mark Zuckerberg took the stage yesterday and immediately announced that this was going to be a different kind of f8. Rather than focusing on dazzling new Facebook features, the company is now focused on stability and encouraging community growth — encompassing users, advertisers and developers. As Facebook continues to grow its audience and network of advertisers, scale becomes even more of a central focus.

Some basic takeaways from his presentation:

  • Facebook has helped process $3B+ in payments, with 59% of ad revenue on mobile
  • It’s now handling 470 billion API calls a day
  • The platform will offer a 2-year Core API stability guarantee (all APIs will be supported for at least 2 years)
  • And a 48-hour major bug fix SLA(!)

Although we were promised less dazzle, three updates that Facebook shared at f8 are mobile game changers:

1. Parse

Parse started 3 years ago, and is just now coming into its own as the go-to base for developers to build and distribute their desktop or mobile apps. As an indication of Parse’s growth: one year ago 60K apps were on the platform, and now it has 260K. It features a powerful core and native SDKs spanning from iOS to JavaScript; a growth dashboard and user retention metrics. With 6 lines of code you can enable Parse analytics, with 7 lines of code you can run the app via the local data store, and with 8 lines of Java you can send a push notification to everyone in your app. The big changes here are that pricing has gotten more affordable and easy (pay-as-you-go), offline SDKs are on offer, and new analytics allow you to view push notification open rates.

2. App Links

This was a huge announcement. Facebook has created an open standard that can translate between a web URL and mobile link. This will allow apps to link between each other and remove the issue of getting to or discovering links. In the same way that the blue bar pops up when you hit “message” from the Facebook app, once you click on it the bar within the tool, you can easily jump back to where you were. It’s incredibly easy to implement; the open source SDK has one line of code to send a user across apps on whatever platform – one line of code. Official partners include Quip, Spotify, Redfin, Pinterest, Vimeo, Hulu, Rdio and Tumblr, but all Facebook apps will now deep link into other apps. Visit for additional details.

3. Audience Network

Mark unveiled the Audience Network towards the end of the presentation, and he was visibly excited about it. The core goals of this year’s f8 (build, grow, monetize) are embodied in this rollout, which will help developers advertise and expand their business beyond Facebook and into other apps throughout a galaxy of over 1 million advertisers. Facebook’s other goal, putting people first, also comes into play as the focus of the network is to provide ads that are targeted exactly to the people most likely to appreciate them. For marketers who are used to advanced advertising on Facebook, the Audience Network still offers the same measurement tools, as well as familiar targeting types like Custom Audiences, core audiences and lookalike audiences. From the sound of it, developers will be thrilled — reporting, billing and measurement are all taken care of. As a use case, Target talked about finding customers who might be interested in purchasing Frozen on the Huffington Post (most likely the Parenting section). More info.


Aside from the major announcements about mobile, privacy was a primary concern during the keynote. Over ten years of Facebook’s existence, users have demanded more control over how they share their information and how the apps use that data. Facebook listened. As of today, you can now edit line by line what data you want to share with apps — and your friends can no longer share your data without permission. As a bonus, if you want to try out an app without sharing information like email, you can use “anonymous login” and will see a “you’re undercover” sign-in screen. These new privacy measures put people first.

What’s Next?

According to Zuckerberg, f8 will be held every year going forward, around the end of April/beginning of May. The social network will continue to build a platform that spans and unites all other platforms, tearing down silos and helping developers ship better apps under a new motto: “Move fast with stable infra.” This unsexy battle cry is the sign of a more mature Facebook, as it focuses on being functional, supportive, and above all friendly to users concerned with privacy as they share, engage and learn on the platform.

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