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Tech By Her: How Three of Facebook’s Women Tech Leaders Have Navigated Their Careers

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To celebrate this year’s International Women’s Day (IWD) theme of “An equal world is an enabled world,” we’re kicking off “Tech by Her,” a global initiative that champions and supports the women in our developer and startup communities and across the tech ecosystem.

How to Navigate the Challenge of Being a Woman in Tech

In the technology industry, gender disparity continues to be an issue – women held only 20% of all jobs in technology in 20181 and Crunchbase reported that a mere 13% of vested venture capital funds were put behind female co-founded startups in 20192.

It’s no secret that women face unique challenges in the workplace. Because of the gender bias that is prevalent in the tech world, the women currently in senior leadership roles have made it to the top through merit, grit and determination. At Facebook, we brought three of our women leaders from the Developer Partnerships team across the globe to share how they were able to face and overcome their challenges, and find success in the tech field.

Finding Confidence through a Support Network

For Virginia Yang, Director of APAC Developer Partnerships & Programs, her biggest challenge has been facing and overcoming self-doubt. This began for her in university, where she was one of the few women studying computer science. “I often got looks walking into class as if I had entered the wrong room,” she said.

Unfortunately, this did not change when she graduated and began her career, where she was a rare woman in the role of product manager. “I was asked multiple times – and even incredulously – ’You have a degree in computer science?’,” she said.

Additionally, Virginia describes herself as an introvert, and she found it difficult to speak up during meetings that were dominated by more extroverted coworkers. But she learned how to overcome these challenges by finding workplace allies who gave her advice and support. “They were always there when I needed a confidence boost,” Virginia said. “That has really helped me navigate the challenging points I’ve faced throughout my career.”

Standing Up for Yourself and Correcting Gender Bias

As for Viktoria Ruubel, Director of EMEA Developer Partnerships & Programs, she struggled with how to face and correct misconceptions about women in technology. She said, “I vividly remember a situation where I was saying ‘no’ to the terms of a proposed deal and was told this was an emotional response on my part that was probably due to a lack of experience.”

Though Viktoria’s wealth of experience commands respect in the workplace today, she still hears stories of other women who face challenges similar to hers. “This tells me we still have to work hard to increase awareness about how making assumptions based on gender creates a bias, and to always call it out when it happens rather than accept and internalize it.”

Viktoria recalls how she handled – and ultimately corrected – the gender bias she faced during the business deal: “I stood firm on my terms, suggested we revisit the deal when the partner was ready to talk about the deal and not about me and then walked out of the room. It was not long before I received an apology and we closed the deal with my recommendations, which really were win-win for both our companies.”

Confronting Inner Negativity

Facebook’s Director of Global Product Partnerships, Jackie Chang, knows firsthand how inner self-doubt can lead to self-sabotage and overshadow one’s own value. Returning from maternity leave, Jackie heard the whisperings of self-doubt, which shook her confidence. “I started to question if I’d be able to balance my new reality at home and still have the time and energy to be impactful, drive perspectives and serve others at work,” Jackie said.

Once, when a comment from her manager left her feeling unsettled, Jackie mustered the courage to confront the situation. By being open and honest about her feelings and the situation, she was able to dispel any concerns about her abilities to be an asset to the team. In fact, she learned that she misinterpreted the comment and had allowed self-doubt to guide how she responded in the workplace.

She recalls the outcome of this meeting as being one of increased mutual trust and understanding and manifested into a fruitful partnership. “This was a very impactful lesson for me,” she said. “I learned the importance of addressing challenges head-on and cutting to the truth rather than entertaining the negative chatter in my mind.”

Finding Inspiration through Facebook Communities

At Facebook, we are committed to enabling an equal world by driving diversity in the tech ecosystem. We have established tech hubs in fifteen cities across the world alongside intensive programs such as our Accelerator program and Developer Circles (DevC). These programs provide developers and startups – especially those helmed by women – access to training, guidance and mentorship, which can lead them to scale their careers and businesses sustainably. Read some of the inspirational stories of women innovators and startup founders who are raising the bar all around the world here.

Join us in celebrating a woman in tech whom you know of by giving her a shout-out on your social channels with the hashtag #TechbyHer. You can also engage in the conversation by joining future FB Lives and look out for videos we’ll be sharing on our Facebook pages across Facebook for Developers, Facebook Developer Circles and Facebook for Startups.


Favorite Community Story:

Virginia Yang’s pick:
One of my favorite stories of all time is of Nyha Shree, Co-founder of Jumper.ai, an AI-enabled software platform that helps businesses chat and connect with customers via social media platforms. I love that though she failed to find success with several startup ventures, Nyha never gave up – not even when she was living on 40 cents a day and facing pressure from friends and family to get a stable job. Today, Jumper.ai – her sixth venture – is a Facebook product partner that has over 15,000 using their service. Nyha’s resilience and entrepreneurial spirit has been a huge inspiration to me.Read Nyha’s story here
Viktoria Ruubel’s pick:
I relate to Tamara & Mariia Koliada’s journey. Like Tamara I often felt like I was being judged not by my abilities, but by my gender and physical appearance. I admire greatly the way both the Koliada sisters are forging careers in tech despite prejudice and how they inspire other women within their Developer Circle community.
Read Tamara and Mariia’s story here
Jackie Chang’s pick:
The story of Katherine from Whatsquare really resonates with me. Katherine was able to draw on her experience in marketing, communications, and business development to identify a market gap and opportunity in customer care. Beyond her business, she strives to build community and connections with other female entrepreneurs to draw on a stronger collective of support and expertise. We need more Katherines to grow the community of global female leaders!
Read Katherine’s story here

1 Only 20% of Tech Jobs are Held by Women, How About at Your.” 13 Mar. 2018, https://smallbiztrends.com/2018/03/women-in-technology-statistics.html. Accessed 6 Mar. 2020.
2 “Crunchbase Report: Venture Funding For Female Founders ….” 22 Oct. 2019, https://www.forbes.com/sites/devinthorpe/2019/10/22/crunchbase-report-venture-funding-for-female-founders-falls/. Accessed 6 Mar. 2020.Facebook Developers

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Making Apps Easier to Access as Demand Surges

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As more people shelter and take to the web, simplifying their login experiences is proving helpful

As more people adapt to new public health and safety measures, they’re increasingly turning to apps for communication, connection and community — from text and video chat, to gaming and entertainment, to social good. We’re seeing spikes in usage across a wide range of interests and activities.

With this in mind, we think it’s important that app developers understand what they can do, today, to anticipate and help ease any friction users might experience as day-to-day needs continue to surge.

Over the last few months, we’ve seen above average usage of Facebook Login, which lets people use their Facebook account to login to numerous apps and sites. When Android features such as Custom Tabs and/or Express Login are used to open Facebook Login, people are able to connect to apps at higher rates.

We think there’s a strong signal that seamless login products like Facebook Login and its Android features are making it easier for people to quickly connect with their passions and interests at this time of increasing need.

And beyond what the data tells us, we’re anecdotally hearing this directly from developers too.

For example, the team at Wink says users are spending significantly longer times on its video chat app, and that Facebook Login is helping to boost its registration numbers:

“The biggest challenge now is that millions of people worldwide are forced to stay home, so online social connections are more important than ever. We’re seeing significant uptick in organic traffic to Wink from many countries, and users are spending significantly longer time on our app, to chat by voice and video with other users around the world. Facebook Login offers a lower friction registration process, and it’s helping to increase our registration completion rate.” – Andy Tian, CEO of Asia Innovations Group

Additionally, Mattel163, which has seen a spike in people playing UNO, thinks simplifying its login process is making it easier for groups to quickly connect to have some fun:

“There is a need to stay connected with one another, no matter how far apart. With the help of Facebook Login, Mattel163 has been able to provide social connectivity and joy through UNO. UNO players can join the game and share their special in-game moments on Facebook. Once in the game, players can add each other as friends, play together in a team-based 2V2 session, or set up a private game in Room Mode with friends. Recently, we provided free Room Mode to all players, where friends can meet, chat, customize rules, and goof off as if they were playing traditional UNO.” – Amy Huang, CEO of Mattel163

It’s clear apps are playing a critical role right now, helping people all over the world connect to their loved ones, interests and needs. If you’re a developer looking for ways to enable and help people at this time, evaluating your login experience may be a helpful place to start.

We have a collection of best practices, implementation examples and other resources for developers interested in implementing Facebook Login. Similarly, if you’d like to explore how to optimize this for Android users, make sure you’re using the updated Android SDK (which includes Custom Tabs for Android by default), and enable Express Login.

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How Startups are Pivoting During the Pandemic

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Businesses throughout the world are facing unprecedented obstacles because of COVID-19. And for startups, the economic implications of the pandemic will have long-lasting effects. While the challenges are still new, businesses are already reevaluating their goals, customer relationships, marketing tactics, and staffing models in order to weather the storm. Here’s how four startups are rethinking business strategies, supporting each other, and helping communities as they pave the way for the future.

In the UK, Collective Benefits, a Facebook Accelerator London alumni startup that provides big company benefits for the self-employed, has seen an uptick in demand for its services. “We’ve been overwhelmed with enquiries from the self-employed looking for protections and a safety net. They need financial support now,” says Kimberly Hurd, CRO. “To help, we accelerated the launch of our direct-to-consumer beta program to give freelancers direct access to our benefits and protections like sick pay. We ran a four-day, full-team sprint to open up to our waitlist and were completely overwhelmed by the response.”

In addition to providing more benefits to more people, Kimberly and her team have partnered with the UK Fintech and freelancer community to lobby for clearer and quicker income support for the self-employed. With the influx of work to be done, Kimberly has made a concerted effort to help her team focus on their health during this time. “We mandate breaks. It’s important to give time and space to reflect, think and focus on family and mental and physical health.”

While businesses like Kimberly’s are dealing with an increase in demand, other businesses are pivoting to focus on new business goals. “Don’t waste a crisis. Adapt quickly and take the opportunity to prepare for the future,” says Roger Do, CEO at QSearch, a Facebook Accelerator startup based in Singapore. QSearch offers a social listening dashboard where customers can easily create and test communication strategies on platforms like Facebook. “With the pandemic, we saw a need to bring forward some of our product development plans and accelerate the shift towards AI and machine learning. We were planning to gradually make that shift in two-years’ time, but to ensure our product is relevant and timely given the changing times, we’ve moved fast to accelerate this in just two months,” says Roger.

QSearch’s ability to quickly change its course is paying off. “As a result, we’ve seen a reduced cost of data analysis by 70% and our clients are also experiencing a higher ROI for their spend,” says Roger. Through the struggle, the one thing that Roger says helps is the support of the business community. “The Asian business community’s response has been inspiring to see. Instead of sitting on the sidelines, everyone in the startup ecosystem is chipping in to help and do our part.”

This support expands beyond Asia into other countries where startups are banding together to support one another. “Being in touch with other entrepreneurs during this hard time is helping me a lot,” says Felipe Miranda Costa, CEO and CTO at Cloudia—a Brazil-based company offering virtual assistants for modern health clinics. “In each conversation I have with a peer, there are always some good insights.”

During the pandemic, Felipe’s team has partnered up with Colab, a startup they met while participating in Hack Station, the Facebook Accelerator program in Sao Paulo. Together they’re working on a project called Brasil Sem Corona (Brazil without Corona) to help monitor the number of people infected by the virus throughout the country. Cloudia also created a chatbot to answer questions and concerns about COVID-19 that its customers can use with their patients.

Like Cloudia, many startups are working to provide helpful and accurate information about the pandemic. Facebook Accelerator alumni Turn.IO, a company committed to giving social impact organisations a platform to have conversations that improve lives, is doing just that. “With countries experiencing a massive need for direct communication about COVID-19, Turn.io developed a pro bono solution—HealhAlert,” says Lieze Langford, Business Manager at Turn.io. “HealthAlert disseminates accurate, timely information to the public via WhatsApp at population scale.”

The team is partnering with the World Health Organization (WHO) to provide information and support to any person using WhatsApp in the world. “Our strategy remains the same, but the execution has focused on faster roll-out and standardised content and user experiences so that global NGOs and governments can launch WhatsApp solutions within a week,” says Lieze. While these times are especially challenging for startups in all parts of the world, startups like these are finding ways to focus on new opportunities at hand that not only support their companies but the lives of those around them.

Looking for additional resources to keep your operation running smoothly? Check out our COVID-19 resource page for tips on running a business during economic downturns, social distancing and well-being. We’ve included a list of Facebook startup program alumni that have been identified as startups that are actively supporting COVID-19 response efforts. If you’re a startup that would like to be featured on our resource page or want to learn more about what our startup program alumni are doing to address COVID-19 challenges, please send a direct message to our Facebook for Startups page.

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Introducing Graph API v7.0 and Marketing API v7.0

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API Updates Provide Developers with Improved App Permissions and Campaign Controls
New Requirements Outlined for Mobile Developers and Facebook App Review

Today, we’re releasing Graph API v7.0 and Marketing API v7.0, along with v7.0 of the Mobile and Business SDKs. Together, these releases capture several timely updates, including new fields developers can use for the Instagram Hashtag Search API and Special Ad Categories and new permissions for page-related data. Additionally, we’re noting some important new requirements for mobile developers.

Lastly, we do have some API deprecations planned, however, we reduced the number in order to help minimize disruptions for our developer community during this challenging time. We have a lot of exciting updates to share with you, let’s dig in:

New Fields for Instagram Hashtag Search API & Special Ad Categories

We’re adding a timestamp field to the Instagram Hashtag Search API which will allow developers to get the creation time for any post accessible via this API. You can learn more about how to access this field in our v7.0 changelog.

We’re also making a minor, but important change to the special_ad_category field — we’re renaming it to special_ad_categories (note the change from singular to plural). Developers can specify a single special ad category (i.e., housing, employment, credit, or none) at the campaign-level. If your campaign does not need a special ad category, you can simply pass in an empty array, or [NONE] as the value.

New Permissions for Apps to Read/Write Page Data

We’re announcing six new permissions to replace manage_pages and publish_pages, all of which are outlined in our v7.0 changelog. Taken together, these new permissions will provide developers with more access and better control over page-related data. Availability of these new permissions will be released on a rolling basis, starting today through June 1, 2020.

Developers that already have access to manage_pages and publish_pages will be automatically migrated to the relevant, new permissions by June 1, 2020, and access will remain undisrupted.

Developers with no existing access to manage_pages or publish_pages should actively monitor their app dashboard for the new permissions as they begin rolling out today. By June 1, 2020, all developers will see the new permissions and are encouraged to apply. After this date, applications for manage_pages and publish_pages will be unavailable and no longer reviewed.

Finally, developers who have recently applied for access to manage_pages and publish_pages will continue to be reviewed, and if approved, will be automatically migrated to the relevant, new permissions.

New Deadlines & Requirements for Mobile Developers

If you’re an iOS developer, it’s important to point out Apple’s recent announcement, which states apps for iPhone or iPad must be built with the iOS 13 SDK or later and use Xcode 11 or later. The deadline for adhering to these new iOS requirements is June 30, 2020.

And if you’re an Android developer, note that Android SDK will now be using the Android X libraries. All apps leveraging the Facebook SDK v7.0 must migrate to Android X for continued use.

Important API Deprecations

As part of our ongoing commitment to privacy and security, we are removing access to a number of APIs. However, as a means of minimizing disruption for our developers in the current COVID-19 climate, we significantly reduced the number of APIs we are removing access to.

A list of endpoints that will be removed from the platform are listed in the v7.0 changelog, within their product or node sections. You should review this list to see if your app is impacted.

Also, please be aware of the upcoming version deprecations:

  • 7/26/2020 – Graph API v3.0 will no longer be available.

As always, if you have specific questions or concerns, there’s Facebook Developer Support. And if you haven’t already, please consider joining the Facebook Developer Community — it’s a tremendously helpful resource for communicating and connecting with Facebook developers all over the world.

Facebook Developers

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