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Josh Ross, CEO of Humanitix, on how the non-profit ticketing platform survived their industry grinding to a halt

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Joshua Ross (Right) and Adam McCurdie, Co-CEOs and Co-Founders of Humanitix.

By Guest Author: Joshua Ross, CEO and Co-Founder at Humanitix

It was 2am. My eyes were red from hours of staring at the daily ticket sales. Our hockey-stick graph had been rising unstoppably over the past few years but had just plummeted down a cliff. I wasn’t surprised – events were suddenly banned all around the world because of the virus. As I stared at the dropping numbers, there was one big question on my mind: “Could we still fund the girls’ education?”

Humanitix started with the mission of closing the education gap for the 400 million kids around the world who aren’t getting fair access to education. We’re a charity with a unique twist – instead of asking for donations, we run an event ticketing platform and put 100% of the profits from booking fees toward our education programs, which are delivered around the world by partners like Room To Read.

Event organisers love that it doesn’t cost them any extra to give their event an incredible impact, and it becomes another reason for their guests to get excited about the event. A single dollar can fund a child’s education for a day. A single football match funded two years of education for disadvantaged girls. A party at a bar on New Years Eve funded a scholarship for an Indigenous Student. Every ticket counts.

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Being a tech-charity makes for an unusual combination. We operate like a Silicon Valley scale-up, investing heavily in an incredible product and ticketing experience. The difference is that we’re a charity and we can’t take on investors. This makes us work even harder to maintain a healthy profit margin so we can donate our profits to the kids.

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So when the event industry stopped in March this year, we knew we had to find a way through. Kids were depending on it.

I was in San Francisco with my Co-founder and Co-CEO Adam McCurdie when events started getting cancelled. First, it was the big events – festivals and conferences with more than 500 guests. Then governments around the world restricted events to 100 people at most. Then 10.

The next thing we knew, we were rushing for a flight back to our headquarters in Sydney, Australia, scrambling to get there before the borders closed.

No events meant no tickets, no ticket booking fees, and no funding for our education programs. Adam and I put our heads together – we were heading back to face a crisis.

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By the time we landed, we had a plan. There would be three phases to the event industry’s experience of the crisis.

First, was managing the heartache of so many cancelled events. While other ticketing companies slashed their staff numbers, our whole team worked overtime. Many were on the phone to event organisers late into the night, many of whom were in tears as they pulled the plug on events they’d been working toward for months. Their role had suddenly expanded from advisor to counsellor. Meanwhile, Adam and I fielded calls from government agencies, making sure they knew how tough event organisers had it.

The second phase was about getting events online. Event organisers had booked incredible talent, speakers and entertainers. Guests were still excited. We just had to connect them throughout the lockdowns.

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Within days the Humanitix dev team was rolling out new capabilities for online events, including connecting to Facebook’s Virtual Events API. The connection was a hit, letting event organisers instantly share their events with their community online. Our team created guides on running digital events, and provided guidance to event organisers that had suddenly discovered the hope that comes with running an online event.

We knew that connecting with Facebook’s Virtual Events API would make a big difference. In 2019 we integrated with Facebook Events, allowing our event organisers to create a Facebook event from their Humanitix event with just one click. The extra reach on events meant that ticket sales grew massively, in turn driving donations.

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In the six month period in which we connected with Facebook events, funding for our education programs grew an enormous 165%.

Finally, we recognised that lockdowns wouldn’t last forever. Humans crave connection, and events are perfect for that. Our job is to explore the incredible opportunities that will come with recovery. This isn’t the time for us to go dormant, it’s the time for us to make our product better than ever and get closer to our customers.

The event organisers we speak to tell us that with many events postponed by months, they’ve suddenly discovered that their tight deadlines have relaxed, giving them the opportunity to try new things. There is a huge amount of pent-up creative energy in the events industry right now. When events come back, they’ll be more incredible than ever, with more events blending their online/offline experiences to reach more people around the world. And many, many more of them will be on Humanitix, giving their events an incredible impact.

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On all those tickets, booking fees will help close the education gap for kids around the world.

We can’t wait.

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Josh Ross is Co-Founder and Co-CEO of Humanitix.
Humanitix is the not-for-profit ticketing platform that gives events impact. They make event management a breeze and give 100% of the profits from booking fees to education projects, such as literacy programs for young girls. It’s an incredible feeling to announce in your marketing or at your event that you’ve funded the education of disadvantaged kids – and it becomes another reason guests flock to your events. Powering thousands of events, and backed by Google and Atlassian, Humanitix is making every ticket count.

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Creating Apps with App Use Cases

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With the goal of making Meta’s app creation process easier for developers to create and customize their apps, we are announcing the rollout of an updated process using App Use Cases instead of the former product-focused process. App Use Cases will enable developers to quickly create apps by selecting the use case that best represents their reason for creating an app.

Currently, the product-focused app creation process requires developers to select an app type and individually request permission to API endpoints. After listening to feedback from developers saying this process was, at times, confusing and difficult to navigate, we’re updating our approach that’s based on App Use Cases. With App Use Cases, user permissions and features will be bundled with each use case so developers can now confidently select the right data access for their needs. This change sets developers up for success to create their app and navigate app review, ensuring they only get the exact data access they need to accomplish their goals.

Starting today Facebook Login will be the first use case to become available to developers. This will be the first of many use cases that will be built into the app creation process that will roll out continually in 2023. For more information please reference our Facebook Login documentation.

First seen at developers.facebook.com

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Understanding Authorization Tokens and Access for the WhatsApp Business Platform

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The WhatsApp Business Platform makes it easy to send WhatsApp messages to your customers and automate replies. Here, we’ll explore authentication using the Cloud API, hosted by Meta.

We’ll start with generating and using a temporary access token and then replace it with a permanent access token. This tutorial assumes you’re building a server-side application and won’t need additional steps to keep your WhatsApp application secrets securely stored.

Managing Access and Authorization Tokens

First, let’s review how to manage authorization tokens and safely access the API.

Prerequisites

Start by making sure you have a developer account on Meta for Developers. You’ll also need WhatsApp installed on a mobile device to send test messages to.

Creating an App

Before you can authenticate, you’ll need an application to authenticate you.

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Once you’re signed in, you see the Meta for Developers App Dashboard. Click Create App to get started.

Next, you’ll need to choose an app type. Choose Business.

After that, enter a display name for your application. If you have a business account to link to your app, select it. If not, don’t worry. The Meta for Developers platform creates a test business account you can use to experiment with the API. When done, click Create App.

Then, you’ll need to add products to your app. Scroll down until you see WhatsApp and click the Set up button:

Finally, choose an existing Meta Business Account or ask the platform to create a new one and click Continue:

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And with that, your app is created and ready to use. You’re automatically directed to the app’s dashboard.

Note that you have a temporary access token. For security reasons, the token expires in less than 24 hours. However, you can use it for now to test accessing the API. Later, we’ll cover how to generate a permanent access token that your server applications can use. Also, note your app’s phone number ID because you’ll need it soon.

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Click the dropdown under the To field, and then click Manage phone number list.

In the popup that appears, enter the phone number of a WhatsApp account to send test messages to.

Then, scroll further down the dashboard page and you’ll see an example curl call that looks similar to this:

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curl -i -X POST https://graph.facebook.com/v13.0//messages -H 'Authorization: Bearer ' -H 'Content-Type: application/json' -d '{ "messaging_product": "whatsapp", "to": "", "type": "template", "template": { "name": "hello_world", "language": { "code": "en_US" } } }'

Note that the Meta for Developers platform inserts your app’s phone number ID and access token instead of the and placeholders shown above. If you have curl installed, paste the command into your terminal and run it. You should receive a “hello world” message in WhatsApp on your test device.

If you’d prefer, you can convert the curl request into an HTTP request in your programming language by simply creating a POST request that sets the Authorization and Content-Type headers as shown above, including the JSON payload in the request body.

Since this post is about authentication, let’s focus on that. Notice that you’ve included your app’s access token in the Authorization header. For any request to the API, you must set the Authorization header to Bearer .

Remember that you must use your token instead of the placeholder. Using bearer tokens will be familiar if you’ve worked with JWT or OAuth2 tokens before. If you’ve never seen one before, a bearer token is essentially a random secret string that you, as the bearer of the token, can present to an API to prove you’re allowed to access it.

Failure to include this header causes the API to return a 401 Unauthorized response code.

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Creating a Permanent Access Token

Knowing that you need to use a bearer token in the Authorization header of an HTTP request is helpful, but it’s not enough. The only access token you’ve seen so far is temporary. Chances are that you want your app to access the API for more than 24 hours, so you need to generate a longer-lasting access token.

Fortunately, the Meta for Developers platform makes this easy. All you need to do is add a System User to your business account to obtain an access token you can use to continue accessing the API. To create a system user, do the following:

  • Go to Business Settings.

  • Select the business account your app is associated with.
  • Below Users, click System Users.
  • Click Add.
  • Name the system user, choose Admin as the user role, and click Create System User.
  • Select the whatsapp_business_messaging permission.
  • Click Generate New Token.
  • Copy and save your token.

Your access token is a random string of letters and numbers. Now, try re-running the earlier request using the token you just created instead of the temporary one:

curl -i -X POST https://graph.facebook.com/v13.0//messages -H 'Authorization: Bearer ' -H 'Content-Type: application/json' -d '{ "messaging_product": "whatsapp", "to": "", "type": "template", "template": { "name": "hello_world", "language": { "code": "en_US" } } }'

Your test device should receive a second hello message sent via the API.

Best Practices for Managing Access Tokens

It’s important to remember that you should never embed an App Access Token in a mobile or desktop application. These tokens are only for use in server-side applications that communicate with the API. Safeguard them the same way you would any other application secrets, like your database credentials, as anyone with your token has access to the API as your business.

If your application runs on a cloud services provider like AWS, Azure, GCP, or others, those platforms have tools to securely store app secrets. Alternatively there are freely-available secret stores like Vault or Conjur. While any of these options may work for you, it’s important to evaluate your options and choose what works best for your setup. At the very least, consider storing access tokens in environment variables and not in a database or a file where they’re easy to find during a data breach.

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Conclusion

In this post, you learned how to create a Meta for Developers app that leverages the WhatsApp Business Platform. You now know how the Cloud API’s bearer access tokens work, how to send an access token using an HTTP authorization header, and what happens if you send an invalid access token. You also understand the importance of keeping your access tokens safe since an access token allows an application to access a business’ WhatsApp messaging capabilities.

Why not try using the Cloud API, hosted by Meta if you’re considering building an app for your business to manage WhatsApp messaging? Now that you know how to obtain and use access tokens, you can use them to access any endpoint in the API.

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Now people can share directly to Instagram Reels from some of their favorite apps

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More people are creating, sharing and watching Reels than ever before. We’ve seen the creator community dive deeply into video content – and use it to connect with their communities. We’re running a limited alpha test that lets creators share video content directly from select integrated apps to Instagram Reels. Now, creators won’t be interrupted in their workflow, making it easier for them share share and express themselves on Reels.

“With the shift to video happening across almost all online platforms, our innovative tools and services empower creativity and fuel the creator economy and we are proud to be able to offer a powerful editing tool like Videoleap that allows seamless content creation, while partnering with companies like Meta to make sharing content that much easier.”- Zeev Farbman, CEO and co-founder of Lightricks.

Starting this month, creators can share short videos directly to Instagram Reels from some of their favorite apps, including Videoleap, Reface, Smule, VivaVideo, SNOW, B612, VITA and Zoomerang, with more coming soon. These apps and others also allow direct sharing to Facebook , which is available for any business with a registered Facebook App to use.

We hope to expand this test to more partners in 2023. If you’re interested in being a part of that beta program, please fill out this form and we will keep track of your submission. We do not currently have information to share about general availability of this integration.

Learn more here about sharing Stories and Reels to Facebook and Instagram and start building today.

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FAQs

Q. What is the difference between the Instagram Content Publishing API and Instagram Sharing to Reels?

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A: Sharing to Reels is different from the Instagram Content Publishing API, which allows Instagram Business accounts to schedule and publish posts to Instagram from third-party platforms. Sharing to Reels is specifically for mobile apps to display a ‘Share to Reels’ widget. The target audience for the Share to Reels widget is consumers, whereas the Content Publishing API is targeted towards businesses, including third-party publishing platforms such as Hootsuite and Sprout Social that consolidate sharing to social media platforms within their third-party app.

Q: Why is Instagram partnering with other apps?

A: Creators already use a variety of apps to create and edit videos before uploading them to Instagram Reels – now we’re making that experience faster and easier. We are currently doing a small test of an integration with mobile apps that creators know and love, with more coming soon.

Q: How can I share my video from another app to Reels on Instagram?

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A: How it works (Make sure to update the mobile app you’re using to see the new Share to Reels option):

  • Create and edit your video in one of our partner apps
  • Once your video is ready, tap share and then tap the Instagram Reels icon
  • You will enter the Instagram Camera, where you can customize your reel with audio, effects, Voiceover and stickers. Record any additional clips or swipe up to add an additional clip from your camera roll.
  • Tap ‘Next’ to add a caption, hashtag, location, tag others or use the paid partnerships label.
  • Tap ‘Share’. Your reel will be visible where you share reels today, depending on your privacy settings.
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Q: How were partners selected?

A. We are currently working with a small group of developers that focus on video creation and editing as early partners. We’ll continue to expand to apps with other types of creation experiences.

Q: When will other developers be able to access Sharing to Reels on Instagram?

A: We do not currently have a date for general availability, but are planning to expand further in 2023.

Q: Can you share to Facebook Reels from other apps?

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A: Yes, Facebook offers the ability for developers to integrate with Sharing to Reels. For more information on third-party sharing opportunities, check out our entire suite of sharing offerings .

First seen at developers.facebook.com

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