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ELI5: Open Compute Project — Advancing Hardware Technologies Through Open Source

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While the concept of leveraging open source communities to help build robust and efficient projects is quite common in software, applying open source principles and practice to hardware at scale was almost unheard of. In April of 2011, Facebook launched the Open Compute Project (OCP) with help from other computing leaders with the purpose to share, promote and foster innovations in the datacenter hardware community in an open and efficient manner. The launch of OCP marked the creation of the world’s first large scale open source hardware project.

In this blog post, we explain the Open Compute Project in a way that is simple to understand (or as it’s commonly known online, ELI5. If you’re interested in learning by watching or listening, check out the linked video about OCP on our Facebook Open Source Youtube channel.

Why Open Compute?

The Open Compute Project or OCP is a non-profit organization focused on sharing designs and best practices for data center products.

Let’s take a look at how it all started. In 2009, Facebook was growing exponentially, serving millions of global users. In order to continue serving the growing number of people on its platform, it needed to reimagine multiple facets of its data centers to control costs and energy consumption. Facebook began an internal project called “Project Freedom” which focused on redesigning an efficient data center from the ground up, re-envisioning the software, servers, racks, power supplies and cooling.

In 2011, Facebook publicly shared these designs to the world. It also partnered with Goldman Sachs, Andy Bechtolsheim, Intel and Rackspace to found the Open Compute Project whose mission is to apply the benefits of open source and open collaboration to hardware and rapidly increase the pace of innovation in data centers.

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How is the Open Compute Project maintained?

The OCP Foundation maintains a number of projects including data center cooling, rack designs, server designs and storage. A full list of OCP projects can be found on their website.

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Because OCP is open-sourced, it welcomes contributions from the community. In order to maintain a level of consistency and excellence, all contributions and project decisions are measured against four key tenets – openness, efficiency, scale and impact. A full explanation of the tenets can be found in this slide deck here.

When presenting to the technical committee, each contribution must show how it adheres to these tenets. OCP does not accept a specification or contribution unless there is a viable route to market (for example, a supplier is enabled within 120 days). Adhering to these tenets enables OCP to continue creating products that impact and move the market forward rather than just devolving into a library of paper specifications.

How is the Open Compute Project used today?

The original data center that Facebook had built when it open sourced its data center designs still stands in Prineville, Oregon. Ten years after its inception, OCP is enthusiastically embraced by the industry; now there are over 140 intellectual property (IP) contributions from 22 different companies representing more than 170 products across areas such as servers, storage, networking, interconnects and more.

Outside of Facebook, the list of OCP members includes over 200 companies. OCP is used across a number of telecommunications companies, Cloud Service Providers (CSPs), large web based enterprises (i.e. SaaS), the public sector and in High Performance Computing.

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Additional resources to learn more

If you are interested in contributing, check out the ”How to Contribute” guide which discusses the steps to present your idea to the appropriate Project Group, write a spec (OCP Specification Template) and get your product in the OCP marketplace.

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To learn more about OCP, visit their website, follow them on Twitter @OpenComputePrj and subscribe to their YouTube Channel.

About the ELI5 series

In a series of short videos, 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.

To learn more about Facebook Open Source, visit our open source site, subscribe to our YouTube channel, or follow us on Twitter and Facebook.

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Interested in working with open source at Facebook? Check out our open source-related job postings on our career page by taking this quick survey.

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Updating Special Ad Audiences for housing, employment, and credit advertisers

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On June 21, 2022 we announced an important settlement with the US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) that will change the way we deliver housing ads to people residing in the US. Specifically, we are building into our ads system a method designed to make sure the audience that ends up seeing a housing ad more closely reflects the eligible targeted audience for that ad.

As part of this agreement, we will also be sunsetting Special Ad Audiences, a tool that lets advertisers expand their audiences for ad sets related to housing. We are choosing to sunset this for employment and credit ads as well. In 2019, in addition to eliminating certain targeting options for housing, employment and credit ads, we introduced Special Ad Audiences as an alternative to Lookalike Audiences. But the field of fairness in machine learning is a dynamic and evolving one, and Special Ad Audiences was an early way to address concerns. Now, our focus will move to new approaches to improve fairness, including the method previously announced.

What’s happening: We’re removing the ability to create Special Ad Audiences via Ads Manager beginning on August 25, 2022.

Beginning October 12th, 2022, we will pause any remaining ad sets that contain Special Ad Audiences. These ad sets may be restarted once advertisers have removed any and all Special Ad Audiences from those ad sets. We are providing a two month window between preventing new Special Ad Audiences and pausing existing Special Ad Audiences to enable advertisers the time to adjust budgets and strategies as needed.

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For more details, please visit our Newsroom post.

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Impact to Advertisers using Marketing API on September 13, 2022

For advertisers and partners using the API listed below, the blocking of new Special Ad Audience creation will present a breaking change on all versions. Beginning August 15, 2022, developers can start to implement the code changes, and will have until September 13, 2022, when the non-versioning change occurs and prior values are deprecated. Refer below to the list of impacted endpoints related to this deprecation:

For reading audience:

  • endpoint gr:get:AdAccount/customaudiences
  • field operation_status

For adset creation:

  • endpoint gr:post:AdAccount/adsets
  • field subtype

For adset editing:

  • endpoint gr:post:AdCampaign
  • field subtype

For custom audience creation:

  • endpoint gr:post:AdAccount/customaudiences
  • field subtype

For custom audience editing:

  • endpoint gr:post:CustomAudience

Please refer to the developer documentation for further details to support code implementation.

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Introducing an Update to the Data Protection Assessment

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Over the coming year, some apps with access to certain types of user data on our platforms will be required to complete the annual Data Protection Assessment. We have made a number of improvements to this process since our launch last year, when we introduced our first iteration of the assessment.

The updated Data Protection Assessment will include a new developer experience that is enhanced through streamlined communications, direct support, and clear status updates. Today, we’re sharing what you can expect from these new updates and how you can best prepare for completing this important privacy requirement if your app is within scope.

If your app is in scope for the Data Protection Assessment, and you’re an app admin, you’ll receive an email and a message in your app’s Alert Inbox when it’s time to complete the annual assessment. You and your team of experts will then have 60 calendar days to complete the assessment. We’ve built a new platform that enhances the user experience of completing the Data Protection Assessment. These updates to the platform are based on learnings over the past year from our partnership with the developer community. When completing the assessment, you can expect:

  • Streamlined communication: All communications and required actions will be through the My Apps page. You’ll be notified of pending communications requiring your response via your Alerts Inbox, email, and notifications in the My Apps page.

    Note: Other programs may still communicate with you through the App Contact Email.

  • Available support: Ability to engage with Meta teams via the Support tool to seek clarification on the questions within the Data Protection Assessment prior to submission and help with any requests for more info, or to resolve violations.

    Note: To access this feature, you will need to add the app and app admins to your Business Manager. Please refer to those links for step-by-step guides.

  • Clear status updates: Easy to understand status and timeline indicators throughout the process in the App Dashboard, App Settings, and My Apps page.
  • Straightforward reviewer follow-ups: Streamlined experience for any follow-ups from our reviewers, all via developers.facebook.com.

We’ve included a brief video that provides a walkthrough of the experience you’ll have with the Data Protection Assessment:

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The Data Protection Assessment elevates the importance of data security and helps gain the trust of the billions of people who use our products and services around the world. That’s why we are committed to providing a seamless experience for our partners as you complete this important privacy requirement.

Here is what you can do now to prepare for the assessment:

  1. Make sure you are reachable: Update your developer or business account contact email and notification settings.
  2. Review the questions in the Data Protection Assessment and engage with your teams on how best to answer these questions. You may have to enlist the help of your legal and information security points of contact to answer some parts of the assessment.
  3. Review Meta Platform Terms and our Developer Policies.

We know that when people choose to share their data, we’re able to work with the developer community to safely deliver rich and relevant experiences that create value for people and businesses. It’s a privilege we share when people grant us access to their data, and it’s imperative that we protect that data in order to maintain and build upon their trust. This is why the Data Protection Assessment focuses on data use, data sharing and data security.

Data privacy is challenging and complex, and we’re dedicated to continuously improving the processes to safeguard user privacy on our platform. Thank you for partnering with us as we continue to build a safer, more sustainable platform.

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Resources for Completing App Store Data Practice Questionnaires for Apps That Include the Facebook or Audience Network SDK

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Resources for Completing App Store Data Practice Questionnaires for Apps That Include the Facebook or Audience Network SDK

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