Pakistani Duo Win at Facebook’s Developer Hackathon

The F8 Hackathon recently took place in California and developers from around the world were invited to hack Facebook’s technologies to bring the world closer together. Pakistani developers have secured second place in Facebook’s F8 Hackathon in San Jose, California, at the annual developer conference by Facebook.

In 2018, Facebook made the addition of the hackathon, into their annual conference whereby developers from across the world were selected to compete using their technologies. A total of 145 participating developers were divided into 53 teams.

 The event was held at the McEnery Convention Center, where thousands of attendees experienced new technology from the social media giant, learned first-hand how developers are innovating on the platform, and explored new ways to build the community.
The Pakistani duo Asad Memon and Azka Qaiser developed an application allowing users to communicate with pseudo-names in Facebook groups.
In their official announcement, they shared all the details of their participation in the hackathon, the inspiration, the challenges, the accomplishments, and their future plans. Talking about the inspiration behind their app, the developers duo said,

“We noticed a common pattern in many discussion groups: A lot of members want to discuss important issues but many topics are best discussed in anonymity. Unfortunately, Facebook’s real-name policy forces them to keep mum when they have a lot to contribute otherwise”

“A major inspiration for us to build this app is a Facebook group named ‘Soul Sisters Pakistan’. It is a Facebook group only for females from all around the world connecting them together. It’s a platform where women can ask, share and discuss things they like, but many times there are situations when people don’t want to reveal their identity but they want solution to their problem at the same time. In such a scenario, they started sending their issues to their friends to post them ‘Anonymously’ on their behalf. This is a ‘hack’ that is widely used by the community, they added.

How does it work?

Pseudonymous assigns a pseudonym with each member. Under which they can contribute without disclosing their real name. Members can communicate under groups easily without revealing their true names. This encourages deep discussions on topics that are hard but important.

We leveraged messenger bot to do this. Members use the special link which sends them to their messenger and opens a prompt where they can compose their anonymous post. The post is then published by the bot with a pseudonym unique to that member.

Challenges we ran into Facebook has recently closed down many Group API endpoints that were crucial to this project. We had to hack our way around them using headless browser and duct tape.

Accomplishments that we’re proud of We really like the ease of use once the user becomes accommodated to this tool.

What’s next for Pseudonymous?
  • Further simplify the posting process.
  • Auto-filter posts as defined by the admins.
  • Emoji support (a chromium bug is causing emojis to not render)
  • Photo/VIdeo posts. Currently we only support text posts.
  • Banning tools and moderation tools for admins.

Source: DevPost