In today’s pandemic world, businesses of all sizes are adapting and pivoting to selling online. Commerce is a long-term priority for Facebook, and we have been making significant strategic investment in the space over the past years. In 2020, we saw accelerated growth and innovation in this area, leading us to launch our newest program for startups, Facebook Accelerator: Commerce. Through the Facebook Accelerator: Commerce program, our mission is centered on making sure all businesses—from entrepreneurs to established brands—have the tools they need to connect with customers and make shopping online a seamless experience.
Over the course of three-months, we’re bringing together innovative commerce startups in Europe, the Middle East, Africa, and Latin America to help create a unified shopping experience across all Facebook apps. Throughout the virtual program, the selected startups will have access to a dedicated Facebook mentor, comprehensive training, Facebook’s suite of products and technologies, and a valuable network of product experts and fellow founders to connect with.
Today, we’re excited to announce the startups that are invited to join the Facebook Accelerator: Commerce program. Each of these startups submitted applications and were evaluated by an international panel of Facebook and product experts. They were selected for having a product focused on driving customer value, diverse and focused leadership teams, groundbreaking technology or research and evidence of business growth.
In Europe, the Middle East, and Africa, the 2020 Facebook Accelerator: Commerce startups include:
- Botme (Egypt), a commerce chatbot building platform that helps small and medium-sized businesses to build chatbots and publish them on Messenger and WhatsApp.
- BoxCommerce (South Africa), a platform for small and medium-sized businesses to create ecommerce websites, payments, and logistics in emerging markets.
- Brandquad (France), an AI-powered product content management platform that helps to centralize and harmonize data about products.
- Convertedin (Egypt), an ad automation platform for retailers and ecommerce businesses.
- Digiduka (Kenya) that helps informal retailers (kiosks) in Africa get access to digital inventory, as well as easily and cost effectively process digital payments.
- Dream Agility (United Kingdom), a multi-award winning AI company with proprietary visual AI and machine learning, specialising in retail.
- Easysize (Denmark) that helps online fashion shops increase conversion to sales and lower returns, by recommending the right size to their customers.
- FeedGeni (Ghana), a product feed generator that helps online merchants increase product visibility and sales by listing their products on shopping engines.
- FeedSpark (United Kingdom), an award-winning product feed optimisation and ecommerce automation platform, helping brands, retailers and digital agencies increase performance across online channels worldwide.
- Flowbox (Sweden), offering a visual marketing platform to help brands leverage and distribute social content throughout the buyer journey to increase engagement, social proof and sales.
- Intelligent Reach (United Kingdom) helping brands, retailers and their digital agencies increase revenues through data feed optimisation, content experimentation and marketplace management.
- MindBehind (Turkey), an enterprise conversation platform, powering the intersection of AI with messaging, for creating intelligent, on-demand, automated response flows through one-to-one conversations in any messaging channel.
- NearSt (United Kingdom), a retail technology company building the world’s source of real-time local inventory.
- OkHi (Kenya), building the next generation address system. This system will unlock commerce through enhanced logistics and grow access to finance through better personal identification.
- Paym.es (Turkey), a payment solution that enables social sellers to accept payments via messaging apps.
- Save Your Wardrobe (United Kingdom), a digital wardrobe management platform.
- ShoppingFeeder (South Africa), a leading feed management and multi-channel marketing platform for online stores.
- Smiirl (France), helping businesses build awareness and grow their social media engagement from inside their point of sale.
- UENI (UK), helping businesses to get online and find the services and tools they need to succeed.
- WakeupData (Denmark), helping ecommerce businesses to automate, optimize and amplify product data through high-quality data integrations, maximizing ROI without the need for developers.
- WideBot (Egypt), empowering businesses to build smart, AI-enabled chatbots that speak both formal and informal Middle Eastern languages
And in Latin America, the 2020 Facebook Accelerator: Commerce startups include:
- Bling (Brazil), a management system to help small businesses stay organized.
- Cliengo (Argentina), a sales and marketing automation to help businesses scale.
- Cuanto (Panama), a shopping platform to help businesses sell online in seconds.
- Digitalk (Brazil), an AI that transforms contact centers into a 360º automated process.
- FullJaus (Argentina), a centralized place where businesses can control their online shop in the digital marketplace.
- Kyte (Brazil), a shopping platform that lets businesses manage their point of sale for local and online orders.
- MarketUp (Brazil), a free management system to help businesses stand out in the marketplace.
- Olist (Brazil), an eCommerce site to connect businesses and their products to main marketplaces.
- OmniChat (Brazil), a chat and service management solution to help businesses turn WhatsApp into a sales channel.
- Plugg.to (Brazil), an eCommerce integrator that enables businesses to sell across major online marketplaces.
- ShowKase (Brazil), a shopping platform that allows businesses to digitize their company.
- Treble.ai (Colombia), an automated solution for all business WhatsApp needs.
- Unbox (Brazil), Online sales solution designed to help brand-focused SMEs to start sell online in less than 5 minutes and increase their sales.
- VendaMaisM (Brazil), a portal for sales management and training.
- Vendora (Mexico), a social commerce company dedicated to supporting businesses.
Congratulations to the 36 startups joining Facebook Accelerator: Commerce in 2020! The program will officially kick off on November 12, 2020, at which point startups will connect with Facebook commerce experts and begin their journey towards building solutions on commerce platforms that billions of people globally can use and benefit from.
Upcoming Changes to the Messenger API
As part of our efforts to update our messaging products in response to new privacy rules in Europe, we are making changes that will impact some developers and businesses using apps enabled by the Messenger API.
Beginning December 16, 2020, several Messenger API features will no longer be available for developers and businesses in Europe, and for people in Europe who connect with businesses on Messenger and Instagram globally.
Examples of some features that will no longer be available via Messenger API include:
- Persistent menu
- One-Time Notification
- Some templates (e.g. Airline, Receipt) and audio/video attachments
- Some templates and buttons on web (e.g. Generic, Button)
These features will continue to be available:
- Sending and receiving text messages and images
- Get Started button
- Ice breakers and quick replies
- Generic template, button template, and media template on Android and iOS only
- URL button, postback button, call button on Android and iOS only
- Private replies, m.me links and the Message Us plugin
- Handover Protocol for Messenger
Relatedly, developers that also use the Instagram Graph API will see some metrics are no longer available. You can see more details here.
What this means for developers
APIs and UI components of the Messenger platform listed above will be unavailable to businesses in Europe in all chats, and to global businesses in chats with people in Europe. Before these changes go live on December 16, we encourage developers to update their experiences that could be affected by these changes – such as those that power Pages in Europe or Pages that receive a significant volume of messages from people in Europe – to use available features instead. For more details on what is changing, please refer to the developer documentation.
We recognize that compliance requires changes to our product experiences, and we’re committed to supporting our partners throughout this process. We’re working hard to bring features back and will provide an update if and when these features are made available again in the future.
ELI5: Docusaurus – Making Documentation Easy
In this post, we will briefly talk about Docusaurus, a website building tool that makes it easy to develop, maintain and deploy a documentation site. If you prefer to learn about Docusaurus in a short video rather than a blog post, go to the Facebook Open Source YouTube channel to watch another episode of ELI5.
The top open source projects on GitHub have their own documentation sites that contain an overview of the project, short getting started guides, in-depth tutorials and project blogs. These resources are key to the success of any open source project, but building, managing and deploying them can be a lot of work. Unless you’re using Docusaurus.
Docusaurus is an open source project for building, deploying and maintaining websites. This project’s main goal is to get you started with your website in a matter of seconds. Beyond creating the site, Docusaurus emphasizes speed of both developer and end users by following the PRPL pattern and by relying on an incremental build for content changes.
Docusaurus allows developers to use tools they already know like Markdown or MDX to write documentation or blogs. With React as the backbone of Docusaurus, developers can customize their website to fit their use case.
The cherry on top is that you don’t have to manually update your documentation every time you update your code. Docusaurus automatically syncs docs to project releases so that you can spend more of your time working on the things you care about.
Where is it used?
Docusaurus was first released to the public by the Facebook Open Source team in 2017. Since then, this project has been used by a large number of the Facebook open source projects and by over 100 external projects.
Where can I learn more?
Want to learn more about Docusaurus? You can find extensive documentation and tutorials covering a wide range of topics on building and customizing your site. If you want to engage with the community, feel free to join the Discord channel or talk to the team on Twitter.
About the ELI5 series
In a series of short videos (~1 min in length), one of our Developer Advocates on the Facebook Open Source team explains a Facebook open source project in a way that is easy to understand and use.
We will write an accompanying blog post (like the one you’re reading right now) for each of these videos, which you can find on our YouTube channel.
2020 Developer Circles Community Challenge regional winners announced
It’s often said that one of the best ways to learn is to become the teacher. That’s why, for this year’s Developer Circles Community Challenge, we invited developers and creators to put an innovative spin on technical education by creating tutorials that showcase the capabilities of Facebook technologies.
Participants created step-by-step written tutorials that demonstrated one or more features of open source tools including Hack, React, React Native, PyTorch and Docusaurus; as well as products including Messenger, Spark AR and Wit.ai.
For their efforts, we offered cash prizes, as well as the opportunity to have their tutorials credited and shared with fellow innovators across the Facebook ecosystem.
Our regional winners
As our first step in deciding the overall winners, we’re very excited to announce our regional winners today.
The teams behind the below inspiring tutorials have each won a US$2,000 cash prize, and will also be invited to make further enhancements to their projects by Monday November 30, in order to have a chance at the global prizes announced in mid-December.
Create Smarter Messenger Experiences on Facebook with Bright
Covid Center Bot (Intermediate)
HayWord | Case Study for Making Real Word Chatbot Messenger
React, Messenger, Wit.AI
IndoNLU: Finetuning Tutorial IndoBERT using PyTorch
How to make Smoke in Spark AR
Create a serverless Messenger bot with Wit.ai
Spark AR – Art Series
Middle East and North Africa
Customer Service Messenger Bot
Build an Encryptor/Decryptor Chatbot on Messenger using Wit
Your Claw Machine
Wit.ai CI and CLI
Job Finder Bot tutorial
Pneumonet-Building an AI COVID-19 Product with Pytorch
Chatbot for Class
Rabbit Coder (Spark AR Tutorial)
Our local language winners
In acknowledgment of our diverse, global community, we’re also pleased to offer a set of special local language prizes for the first time. The below winning tutorials have each won a US$1,500 prize.
Violence Detection in videos
Adding Drag & Drop to React components
React, PyTorch, Docusaurus
HayWord | Case Study for Making Real Word Messenger Apps
React, Messenger, Wit.ai
New building opportunities coming soon
Congratulations to all of these trail-blazing winners, and to everyone who took part in the Challenge. Stay tuned to our Facebook Developer Circles page for more information on our global winners announcement in December!
We’ll also be hosting a range of challenges including hackathons, as well as product immersion opportunities, for developers and creators in 2021. Don’t forget to sign up for our email newsletter to be among the first to know about these initiatives.
Stay safe and we can’t wait to continue supporting you as you #BuildwithFacebook.