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Facebook’s Meta: How Designers View the New Logo and Brand

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The emblem for Facebook’s new parent company is built for the metaverse, even if it disappoints in the real world.

When Mark Zuckerberg announced last month that Facebook was changing its name, the company published a sleek animation online that showed logos of all its apps and products fusing together to form a shimmering vision of the future: a two-tone blue infinity symbol next to the word “Meta.”

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The animated version of the new Meta logo released by the company.

The new symbol and name change were nods to Mr. Zuckerberg’s plans to refocus the Silicon Valley giant toward what he sees as the unification of disparate digital worlds into the so-called metaverse, the immersive, interconnected online space largely enabled by augmented and virtual reality. “The metaverse is the next frontier in connecting people,” he said in an announcement.

To design experts, the change by a scandal-plagued company was the latest example of efforts by corporate America to create brands that are less unique and ultimately less offensive. It was also a reflection of the growing challenge for corporate identities to exist in many different sizes and digital settings at once, from V.R. headsets to smartwatches — a challenge that is magnified for Meta as it tries to establish an identity for something that largely doesn’t exist yet.

“It checks a lot of boxes,” said Michael Evamy, the author of “Logo,” an anthology of corporate brands and logos. “It’s very simple. It’s very visible at all scales. It’s blue.” (Blue, he noted, is historically a color associated with safety and trustworthiness. The infinity symbol, devoid of corners and jagged edges, can be seen as nonthreatening.)

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“But in a way it kind of looks exactly like you’d expect,” Mr. Evamy added. “Kind of underwhelming and risk-averse.”

Users and lawmakers worldwide are increasingly scrutinizing the wide reach of Facebook, whose products — including Instagram and WhatsApp — are used by more than 3.6 billion people every month. Even as Facebook grew to become one of the most valuable companies in the world, it spent the last several years moving from one embarrassing scandal to the next. Most recently, a former employee turned whistle-blower released a vast trove of internal documents, arguing that Mr. Zuckerberg and Facebook routinely placed profit over the well-being of people.

Mr. Zuckerberg said last month that the name change was a reflection of how much Facebook had evolved. “Right now our brand is so tightly linked to one product that it can’t possibly represent everything we’re doing today, let alone in the future,” he said.

Facebook has long been associated with its lowercase “f” logo — a simple mark but one that became globally recognizable as Facebook grew. The company’s other apps also have bold and colorful logos, which are staying as part of the rebranding.

Because Mr. Zuckerberg’s future vision rests on virtual reality, the company wanted a new logo that felt more dynamic and immersive. In March, the company began developing a logo by focusing “solely on exploring concepts with motion, dimensionality and perspective,” Zach Stubenvoll, Sam Halle and Marian Chiao, members of its internal design team, said in an email.

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When using a V.R. headset, people often use a controller to draw boundary lines of their virtual experience. Meta’s designers said the color loop in the new logo that eventually twists into the infinity symbol was inspired by those boundary lines.

The design community’s response to Facebook’s change has been largely muted.

“This symbol just doesn’t get you excited about the metaverse,” Mr. Evamy said. “The opportunity they’ve missed is to produce something really exciting and transformative in its own way.”

Many other brands have very similar infinity-symbol logos, including those of web development software sold by Microsoft, a model of Top Flite golf balls, a wealth management firm and the rock band Hoobastank. A service owned by Meta called Boomerang also uses an infinity symbol.

Infinity symbols have been featured in many logos, from small businesses to large, well-known corporations, including Boomerang, Microsoft Visual Studio, Infinity, Alpha Infinity, Infinity Enterprises and EV Connect.

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“An infinity loop is not very unique,” said Jessica Walsh, the founder and creative director of the design studio &Walsh. “However, unlike many brands, they’re in a privileged position where they don’t need to rely on their logo being distinct for it to be memorable.”

Paula Scher, a partner at Pentagram, a design consultancy whose clients include Bloomberg, Citibank and Tiffany, said she had seen a growing push for corporate brand logos to have motion and be multidimensional. Several years ago, for example, Google added animation to its logo. But Ms. Scher pointed out that making a logo more flexible risked making it less recognizable.

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Rodrigo Corral, a book cover designer who has also worked with the rapper Jay-Z and the Metropolitan Museum of Art, often incorporates animation in his design work for clients. “But the logo has to stand on its own,” he cautioned. “It has to work without motion first.”

In recent years, brands have had to adapt their logos and identities to a wider array of digital platforms. As websites once solely viewed on desktop computers gave way to smartphone apps, logos had to function in smaller and smaller contexts — tiny squares and circles in social media feeds or miniature dots on smartwatches. Virtual reality offers yet another platform for brands to adapt to, one that is inherently defined by motion and 3-D.

Mr. Evamy noted that the new Meta logo was a departure from an era when corporate branding was much more evocative. “Big companies used to produce very brave, exciting, striking and stop-you-in-your-tracks symbols,” he said, pointing to the iconic stripes of IBM or the arrow hidden inside FedEx’s name.

But whereas a company like FedEx traditionally had to concern itself with branding on the side of a delivery truck and in TV commercials, Meta lives predominantly in the digital world across various platforms.

It is relatively uncharted territory. There is little precedent for corporate logos that can exist in 3-D within a virtual space where they can be interacted with and manipulated by a user.

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“Our Meta design system is designed to grow and change with the company and as the metaverse is created,” Meta’s design team said in the email. “We needed to future-proof the symbol.”

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Updates to Section 7 of the Developer Policies – Facebook Gaming Policies

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We have updated Section 7 of the Developer Policies effective immediately. No change is required from the developers’ end, only awareness about these changes.

As part of our continuous focus on improving developers’ experience, we have made some updates to the Section 7 of the Developer Policies which covers all Facebook Gaming Products, such as Web Games on Facebook.com, Instant Games and Cloud Games. As part of this update we have removed outdated policies, and streamlined the language and structure of Section 7 to better reflect the existing state of our Facebook Gaming Products. We have also reorganized some policies under the Quality Guidelines. These updates do not introduce any product change, nor do they include any new requirements for developers.

Please review the updated Section 7 to familiarize yourself with the updated content structure.

First seen at developers.facebook.com

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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.

First seen at developers.facebook.com

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