Facebook kills Messenger day to merge it with Facebook Stories

Facebook Inc, had earlier launched Stories feature on its Main app for users and a similar feature was added to its Messenger application called “Messenger Day”. Both the features work on similar lines to WhatsApp Status feature but have not been as successful as WhatsApp Status and Instagram Stories.

Due to the low usage of the feature, Facebook is now killing its Messenger Day feature and replace it with Face Stories feature that will be synced between Messenger and Main Facebook app. Users who post photos or videos on their Facebook Stories will appear automatically on both the Facebook and Messenger app.

The Stories will be shared commonly with users on both the applications. Users can however still post on the Messenger app and the post will automatically be synced with the Facebook main application’s Stories feature.

All Stories (Earlier Messenger Day) replies and messages will now be directed via a private message in the Messenger app. The posts will however be view able only till 24 hours time limit and can be viewed both on the Facebook and Messenger application.

The view behind killing the Messenger Day and merging it with Facebook Stories is users would generally post similar photos or videos to both the Facebook and Messenger applications, once viewed by their Friends and Families on Facebook or Messenger will be ignored on the other application meaning if you view the Story in Facebook Stories the same Story will be ignored on Messenger Day.

To remove the less usage of either feature on the apps, the company now plans to merge both the features and will now be called as Stories on both the applications. The company expects the increase of usage of Facebook Stories with this syncing option.

Facebook is also working on bringing new privacy controls to Stories that will now work across its Main app and Messenger. Users will now have the option to make their Stories view able to the public, friends only, friends and connections or selected contacts.

GitHub Project of the Week: Infer’s RacerD

Facebook has announced the open source release of their RacerD unsynchronized memory access — or data race — detector for Java applications following its successful implementation internally.

RaceD is based off of the company’s open source static analysis tool, Infer.

According to Facebook, this newest publicly available piece of Infer’s static analysis platform has caught more than 1,000 multi-threading issues in their Android codebase over the past 10 months, all before the code ever reached production.

Though the project was started in 2015 with a lofty goal of creating an unobtrusive, “high speed and low friction,” scalable concurrency analysis utility for programmers writing concurrent programs, an immediate need caused the team to shift towards a tool that analyzed existing code. This development helped Facebook’s engineers on their Android app convert part of the News Feed from a sequential, single-threaded to a concurrent, multi-threaded operation, Facebook’s software engineer Sam Blackshear and software evangelist Peter O’Hearn writes.

“Data races are one of the most basic forms of concurrency error, and removing them can help simplify the mental task of understanding a concurrent program,” wrote Blackshear and O’Hearn.

The three guiding ideas behind RacerD’s design are:

  1. Don’t do whole-program analysis; be compositional.
  2. Don’t explore interleavings; track lock and thread information.
  3. Don’t attempt a general, precise alias analysis; use an aggressive ownership analysis for anti-aliasing of allocated resources.

“Reasoning about concurrency has been studied for over 40 years and has seen many research advances. However, not much of the work has made it through to deployment where it can help programmers in their daily jobs,” Blackshear and O’Hearn wrote. “RacerD demonstrates that a static concurrency analysis can be developed and effectively applied at the speed and scale demanded by Facebook’s development model, where a large codebase is undergoing frequent modification.”

Top 5 trending projects on GitHub this week:

#1. p3cAlibaba Java coding guidelines.
#2. napajsMicrosoft’s multi-threaded JavaScript runtime.
#3. Front end checklistLike the name says, a checklist for front end development.
#4. Tech Interview HandbookA cheatsheet for rocking your next interview.
#5. Design blocksMore than 170 Bootstrap based design blocks.

Event: Facebook Developer Circles Accra Launch Meetup

The inaugural meetup for the Facebook Developer Circles Accra is happening this weekend.

The first meetup of the Facebook Developer Circles Accra is bringing together developers from within and outside Accra to connect, learn and collaborate with each other to share knowledge, build ideas and learn about new technologies.

For the first meetup, there will be technical presentations from the likes of Edem Kumodzi (Andela, Storefoundry), Chiamaka Nwolisa (AFRadio) and Ashwin Ravichandran (Meltwater Incubator).

There will also be a panel discussion which will discuss how developers can best position themselves to either start tech companies or get jobs in Ghana.



Edem Kumodzi

Senior Developer at Andela and Co-Founder of StoreFoundry

Chiamaka Nwolisa

React Native Developer at AFRadio

Ashwin Ravichandran

General Manager of Meltwater Entrepreneurial School of Technology Incubator (MEST)

Location, Date and Time

The event will be held at the Meltwater Incubator (East Legon) on September 30, 2017. The event is expected to start at 2:00 PM and end at 5:00 PM.


Chrome plugin exploited Tinder privacy bug to track your friends’ location

Remember Tinder Social – the group meeting feature that got the popular dating app in trouble for outing its users to their Facebook friends? It turns out that, in addition to this, Social had another glaring privacy issue that made it possible for Tinder users to track their Facebook friends – and see their exact location.

To demonstrate how intrusive the group meeting feature can be, researchers from cybersecurity firm Detectify developed a creepy Chrome plugin that enabled them to use their Tinder account to triangulate the precise location of their Facebook friends.

As the security experts explain in a blog post, they exploited a well-known privacy vulnerability that allows to export your Facebook friends’ Tinder IDs. The next step was to mark this data onto one big map and automate it to continually update users’ location with data from the app.

Here is how this looked:

While Tinder has no official API, Detectify resorted to popular sniffing tool Burp Suite in order to detect and hijack the necessary traffic data. This made it possible for the experts to retrieve a list of all of their Facebook friends using Social and also see exactly how far they were from them.

Detectify also worked out how to abuse Tinder to send latitude and longitude coordinates to arbitrarily change their location.

With all this information at hand, the researchers were able to develop an algorithm that automatically triangulated the location of their friends.

In all fairness, Detectify is hardly the first company to exploit this setup.

In fact, Tinder previously addressed this issue and argued it is more of a feature, than a bug. The company later made Social an opt-in feature to further protect the privacy of its users, but it clarified that anybody who activates Social will be vulnerable to this loophole. Since then, it has killed off Social altogether.

Still though, numerous opportunists have already used this workaround to cash in by secretly outing Tinder users.

As Detectify puts it, user location needs to be publicly available for Tinder to work: “They could have made our research harder, but they could not have stopped it.” So ultimately it is up to you to decide on which side of the trade-off you want to be: Is a date more important to you than your privacy?


Which Programming Language Should I Learn To Get A Job At Google, Facebook, or Amazon?

The choice of programming language acts as a big factor for a novice in the world of programming. If one stumbles upon a language whose syntax is too complex, one would definitely reconsider learning it. But, what if you’ve crossed that entry barrier and you’re looking to make a career and land a job at heavyweights like Google, Facebook, or Amazon?

You might have come across the articles that tell which programming languages are used at big companies like Google, Facebook, etc. The choice of those companies doesn’t necessarily reflect their needs while hiring a candidate. There are few chances that they’d be interested to interview someone who is expert in a single programming language.

Similar views were also expressed by Justin Mattson, Senior Software Engineer, Fuschia at Google. He answered a user’s query on Quora (via Inc.).

In his answer, Mattson says that if a company is hung up on the fact that you know a language X, but not language Y, you shouldn’t be interested in working there. ” Languages are a tool, like a saw. Whether the saw is manual, table or laser is less relevant than understanding the basic principles of wood and how cutting it happens,” he writes.

There are chances that a person is expert in a popular programming language, but that doesn’t make him/her a good engineer. Different programming languages teach us different things–C and C++ teach you what’s happening with memory and other low-level operations and Java, Ruby, etc., test your design choices. So, it’s important that you learn more languages.

“Don’t learn just one, learn at least two, hopefully, three. This will give you a better sense of what feature are often common to most languages and what things differ,” Mattson adds.

But, what about expertise in a single programming language?


Is having complete command over one language completely irrelevant? Answering this question, Mattson says that one must become an expert in the language one uses, instead of focusing on what a company wants. “If you say you’re an expert in Python and then can’t use it properly in the interview, that is a problem,” he adds.

In the nutshell, if your fundamentals and design choices are strong, the programming language selection isn’t that important. In such companies, you’ll need to deal with multiple languages and pick up the new one as needed.

Facebook’s new Crisis Response hub combines all its best emergency tools

Facebook today announced a new Crisis Response hub page to keep all its emergency features in one place.

Facebook has periodically added tools to help with emergencies ever since it introduced Safety Check back in 2014, but it could be a bit of a pain to actually find them when you want to help or let others know you’re safe. Crisis Response solves that by providing a central location for these features. Those include:

  • The aforementioned safety check, which will show up at the top of the hub if you’re in an affected area
  • Links to helpful crisis-related articles, photos, and videos
  • A community help feature that lets you ask for and give crisis advice
  • Fundraisers to donate to people affected by the crisis and nonprofits helping with relief efforts.
  • You can access the Crisis response page from your home page on the desktop or by tapping the menu button on mobile devices – the feature is rolling out in the coming weeks. It’s a small new feature, but one that will hopefully make it a lot easier and faster for people to get the help they need.

    A New Center for Crisis Response on Facebook on Facebook

Open Source Summit Roundup, Day 1

The Linux Foundation released the first six in a planned series of Open Source Guides for the Enterprise during Open Source Summit North America in Los Angeles today.

The Linux Foundation developed the guides in conjunction with TODO Group, with contributors representing Cloud Native Computing Foundation, Microsoft, Google, Netflix, Samsung, Red Hat, Comcast, Autodesk, Intel, Oath, Facebook and Heptio.

These initial offerings cover the following:

  • Creating an Open Source Program
  • Using Open Source Code
  • Participating in Open Source Communities
  • Recruiting Open Source Developers
  • Measuring Your Open Source Program’s Success
  • Tools for Managing Open Source Programs

“Today most software in any technology product or service is open source,” said Jim Zemlin, executive director of The Linux Foundation in an announcement on their website. “Just as projects are looking to create communities to sustain them over the long term, corporations are seeking to better understand how they can work with and contribute to open source. The new guides will help more organizations directly engage for the benefit of the broader community.”

More guides are scheduled for release, though the topics and release dates have not been announced. They will all be available on GitHub and at the Linux Foundation website.

Cloud Native Computing Foundation  announces Certified Kubernetes Service Providers

The Cloud Native Computing Foundation announced the first group of Kubernetes Certified Service Providers (KCSPs), organizations that are already adept at helping enterprises adopt Kubernetes in their move towards container, cloud and SaaS-based infrastructures.

These first 22-plus organizations were the first to meet the newly outlined requirement of having three or more engineers who’ve passed the Certified Kubernetes Administrator (CKA) exam, demonstrable activity in the Kubernetes community with active contributions and a business model that supports enterprise end-users.

In addition to the introduction of the KCSP program, engineers looking to become a qualified CKA can now visit the CNCF website and take the publicly available exam.

“The founding class of KCSPs represents the maturation of the Kubernetes ecosystem and demonstrates that Kubernetes is ready for widespread use with enterprises of all sizes,”  said Dan Kohn, Executive Director of the Cloud Native Computing Foundation in an announcement on their website. “As Kubernetes has grown, so has the demand from enterprises needing expert services and support. Enterprises working with KCSPs can be confident the partner they’ve chosen to work with has the training and skills needed to help them succeed with Kubernetes.”

GitHub project of the week: Yarn 1.0

The team behind Yarn, an open-source, fast and secure alternative npm client, announced the 1.0 release of the JavaScript package manager, which is a major step for the project. In the 11 month since its initial release in 2016 has generated more than 175,000 projects on GitHub, and it’s responsible for nearly three billion package downloads per month.

So what’s new in Yarn? Yarn added a new feature called Workspaces, which lets people automatically aggregate all the dependencies from multiple package.json files and install them all in one go. It also uses a single yarn.lock file at the root, to lock them all, according to a Facebook post debuting the Yarn 1.0 release.

Workspaces is used by some teams at Facebook already, like in Babel. Lerna, a mono-repository management tool lets you opt in to Yarn’s Workspaces.

“By making Workspaces native to Yarn, we hope to enable faster and lighter installations by preventing package duplication between the smaller parts of a larger project,” read the Facebook blog.
Also in Yarn 1.0 is the new auto-merging of lockfiles feature. When there’s a merge conflict in the lockfile, Yarn will automatically handle the conflict resolution for you upon running yarn install, according to the blog. And if it succeeds, the conflict-free lockfile will save to a disk.

The next time you have a lockfile conflict, you can save time by running yarn install instead of doing a manual resolution, according to the Yarn team.

Besides some of the top new features, Yarn also improved its interactive upgrade experience, it includes a faster file integrity check, and there’s a separate lockfile parser module that you can use in your project.

Top five projects trending on GitHub this week

#1. Every Programmer Should Know: A collection of (mostly) technical things every software developer should know

#2. R2: HTTP client. Spiritual successor to request.

#3. WTFPython: A collection of interesting, subtle, and tricky Python snippets.

#4. Easy Mock: A persistent service that generates mock data quickly and provides visualization view.

#5. Clean Code PHP:🛁 Clean Code concepts adapted for PHP

Facebook brings down the hammer on fake news Pages

Facebook today announced its latest tool in the fight against fake news: ad revenue, or the lack thereof.

As two Facebook product managers explain in today’s update, Pages which repeatedly share news marked as false by its third-party fact-checkers will not be allowed to advertise on Facebook.

The pair hope that this will help stem the tide of false stories, as it will cut off any potential cash reward a Page receives by advertising such stories:

Today’s update helps to disrupt the economic incentives and curb the spread of false news, which is another step towards building a more informed community on Facebook

When Facebook originally outlined its plan to stem the tide of fake news last year, it mentioned cutting off the cash flow to fake news spammers, but did not say how it would do so. Adam Mosseri, VP of News Feed, said it was easy to spot the true motives of the people who ran such Pages:

We’ve found that a lot of fake news is financially motivated. Spammers make money by masquerading as well-known news organizations, and posting hoaxes that get people to visit to their sites, which are often mostly ads.

The Facebook product managers also said disgraced Pages might be allowed to advertise again if they stop sharing fake news, but didn’t specify how long the Page would have to be on good behavior before that would happen.

You may have only recently discovered that Snap isn’t having much luck attracting new users, but Facebook knew months before — and there’s a chance you helped it find out. The Wall Street Journal has learned just how Facebook has been using app usage data from Onavo Protect, the VPN-based security app from its Onavo team, to see how Snapchat adoption has changed over time. The social network looked at aggregated info about the frequency and duration of app use to determine that Snapchat use slowed down soon after Snapchat-like Instagram Stories became available. In other words, Facebook knew it could double down on its anti-Snap strategy within just a few months.

This isn’t the first time Facebook has used Onavo’s app usage data to make major decisions. The info reportedly influenced the decision to buy WhatsApp, as Facebook knew that WhatsApp’s dominance in some areas (99 percent of Android phones in Spain had it) could cut it out of the loop. Likewise, it added live video after seeing how people used Meerkat and Periscope.

To be clear, Facebook isn’t grabbing this data behind anyone’s back. The company says Onavo Protect is explicit about what info it’s collecting and how it’s used, and that apps have incorporated market research services like this “for years.” The odds are slim that many people read these disclosures before using Protect, but anyone who was concerned could have found them. The revelation here is more about how Facebook uses that information rather than the collection itself.

All the same, it’s that collection that has some observers nervous. Former Federal Trade Commission CTO Askhan Soltani tells the WSJ that Facebook is turning customers’ own data against them by using it to snuff out competitors. Meanwhile, tech lawyer Adam Shevell is concerned that Facebook might be violating Apple’s App Store rules by collecting data that isn’t directly relevant to app use or ads. Apple isn’t commenting on whether or not it is.

No matter what, the news underscores just how hard it is for upstarts to challenge Facebook’s dominant position. How do you compete with an internet giant that can counter your app’s features (or simply buy your company) the moment it becomes popular? This doesn’t make Facebook immune to competition, but app makers definitely can’t assume that they’ll catch the firm off-guard.