Category Archives: Programming

Photo by AJ Colores on Unsplash

The Ultimate Guide to Creating Facebook Global Pages

Migrating to a Global Page Structure (also known as “Facebook Global Pages”) can be difficult, and I couldn’t seem to find a single guide with everything I needed to know. I recorded my experiences, so you can complete the process more effectively (without making the same mistakes I did).

What are Facebook Global Pages?

If you have multiple Facebook pages (for different countries), it may be better to represent them using a single brand name (i.e. Joe’s Bookstores instead of Joe’s Bookstores — UK, Joe’s Bookstores — France, etc). A Global Page Structure allows you to do this — so that searches will only display one result for your company, and users will be automatically redirected to the version for their region.

Flowchart of Facebook page redirections

Image courtesy Facebook. © Facebook — All rights reserved.

One great feature of Facebook Global Pages (and why many choose to use them) is that page likes are aggregated across all your pages — meaning that even your least-liked page displays your total number of likes — this will be higher than (and usually a multiple of) your best-liked individual page.

Global Pages are not intended for managing multiple stores in the same region — this is achieved using Facebook Locations (however, you could use Global Pages and Locations — if you have many retail stores in multiple countries, for example).

Important: once you’ve migrated to Global Pages, you can’t go back.

Part A: Getting Started

1. Business Manager

Global Pages are only available as part of Business Manager (a much more powerful way of managing Facebook pages). If you haven’t migrated to Business Manager yet, you’ll need to do this to enable Global Pages. All your pages must be published, have a profile, a cover photo and posts.

2. Eligibility

Global Pages are still being rolled out, and may not be available in your region. To find this out, go to your page settings and there should be a Global Pages tab in the left navigation. If it’s not present, you may still be eligible — contact Facebook to find out for sure.

Global Pages Settings

If you are eligible, a Global Pages tab will appear in your page settings

3. Targeting Strategy and Setting a Default Page

There are two main ways you can redirect your customers in multiple markets using your new Global Page Structure - by country/region or by language. Facebook will supply you with a list of these regions and languages that you can select from (these match the options you have for your page).

Continuing the example above, the country-based Facebook page for Joe’s Bookstores (UK) would target United Kingdom (and Ireland, as this is part of UK & Republic of Ireland).

If you have multiple language pages, your targeting can support this as well — Joe’s Bookstores (English) would target the language English, and Joe’s Bookstores (French) would target the language French.

If you have multiple pages and local languages, your targeting can support this as well — Joe’s Bookstores (France, English) would target the country France and the language English, and Joe’s Bookstores (France, French) would also target France but the language French.

You will also need a Default Global Page for customers who aren’t located in these regions (or haven’t set their language). For your visitors — and for you to test — switching between regions is easy, just select the ellipsis (the three dots) under the main image header, and select Switch Region. This option is only visible on Global Pages, and doesn’t affect your actual Facebook country setting.

Switch Region

Using the drop-down to change between regions

4. Naming Strategy

Hopefully your Facebook Page Names (e.g. Joe’s Bookstores) and vanity URLs (such as @joesbookstores — also called page usernames) are already well organised and have a good naming convention, but this isn’t a requirement of migrating to Global Pages. If you don’t have any vanity URLs, now would be a good time to look at this aspect — check that all your names are available and unclaimed, as they are available on a first-come, first-served basis. Pages must also have 25 likes before they become eligible for vanity URLs, and usernames can only be set once.

Important: although Facebook themselves were confused about this aspect, OLD VANITY URLs WILL NOT REDIRECT TO THE NEW VANITY URLs (although original Facebook-generated ones will redirect to your new selected vanity URL). There is no mechanism for allowing these types of redirects to happen, so make sure of this before you enable your Global Pages.

5. Setting Global Roles using the Root Page

Although you can still have page roles, there will also be administrators of your entire Global Structure. This is done using the Root Page — a page which allows you to manage settings for all of your Global Pages. Your Root Page is invisible and cannot be visited, but allows you to:

  • set Global Roles - this includes adding Root Admins (using their user ID — at this time you can’t add a Partner ID)
  • view Global Insights (for metrics across all of your pages)

Root Admins can manage your Global Roles, as well as manage or add new pages to your Global Structure.

6. Will My Likes and Insights Data Change?

When you migrate your pages to a Global Structure, your actual page likes and insights will seem to have moved around. This is normal, and the intended result. Some pages will get more likes, and others will have less — because the previous relationship between likes and pages becomes completely disconnected (they are related to the total sum of all pages). All analytics are now determined by your targeting strategy — but the good news is that you will now have total analytics available as Global Insights.

It will take some time for this to settle down, so be wary of any comparisons you make that transition through the date of transition.

Part B: Making it happen

1. Contacting Facebook

Facebook are a little notorious to contact. I’ve found the best way to do this is by going to Facebook Business Support (web page) and selecting chat, or Facebook Ads Support (Facebook page) and selecting message. You may need to quote your Business Manager Ad Account ID and the ID of your Facebook pages, so make sure you have these ready.

EDIT: Currently, there is no direct way to contact Facebook via telephone or email. Don’t call a Facebook contact phone number you have found on Google (like this one). These are run by sophisticated scammers, and they will ask seemingly legitimate questions — until they have enough information to hack your account (or worse).

2. Completing the Global Pages Spreadsheet

After you contact Facebook, they will send you an Excel spreadsheet to complete. If you have covered all the numbered items above, completing this should be a snap. Don’t adjust the formatting, hide columns, or tidy up in any way! They use this as automated input, so if you change it, the automation might not work.

Tab 1: Global Page

Regions Page ID New Vanity Page Name
DEFAULT PAGE 12345 brand brand
IE-English/German/Spanish, CA-French, FR-French 67890 brand.a brand
GB-English/German, CN, BE-French 24689 brand.b brand
NZ, AU 54871 brand.c brand

The first tab asks you to list the Regions — i.e. your targeting strategy (language/country — there’s a lookup table on another tab you can use), and which page is the default. You can change both of these settings at a later time in the Global Pages settings.

The Pages ID is the number reference you see in Business Manager — it’s also in the bottom of the page info section of your page’s settings.

The Vanity column is the URL suffix (the bit after facebook.com) — this cannot be changed afterwards. If you don’t have a vanity URL, now is a great time to select one — all your previous visitors will be redirected to your new URL naming strategy. However, if you already have a vanity URL you can change it — but your old vanity URL will not redirect to the new URL.

The Page Name is what will be displayed in searches and on your page — you can change this in the About tab at any time.

Tab 2: Root Admin(s)

Root Admin User IDs
12354

Here is where you list the user ID for any global administrators — make sure you at least list your own user ID here. Don’t worry, you can always add new admins after your move to Global Pages. The notes from Facebook here say “The root Page is invisible and overlooks the whole structure. It allows you to have insights for the whole structure. Admins of the root Page can also manage the Global Page structure (e.g add/remove countries and edit Pages).”

To easily find out your user ID, go to this URL https://graph.facebook.com/marketing (but change the “marketing” reference to the username of the person, e.g. https://graph.facebook.com/joethebookowner).

Tab 3: Country Codes

This is the complete list of all the countries and their two-letter abbreviations. You’ll need this reference to complete the first tab.

Tab 4: Languages

This is the complete list of all the supported languages. You’ll need this reference to complete the first tab.

Tab 5: Tips

A few helpful pointers, some of which I’ve covered here. I found that naming all of my pages with the same name caused some issues later on (as I didn’t know which page was which when integrating with other platforms), but this is probably better from a customer point of view. Your mileage may vary.

Wrapping Up

Once you’ve send your completed spreadsheet back to Facebook, it can be implemented quite quickly — sometimes in under a week — and they will usually let you know if there’s a problem.

This post was first written in 2018, but should still be current. Please let me know in the comments if your experience was any different (or if you have any additional tips).

Helpful links

  1. Am I eligible to create Global Pages?
  2. Create a Global Pages structure
  3. About Global Pages
  4. Consolidate regional Pages into Global Pages
  5. Facebook Ad Support
  6. Facebook Business Support
  7. What are the guidelines around creating a custom username?
  8. How do I change the username for my Page?
  9. How Facebook determines a person’s location for Global Pages
"Eclipse" music video

What does the future hold for storytelling — can a machine create cinema?

The release of the trailer for Morgan provides further insight that Artificial Intelligence (A.I.) is creeping slowly onto the creative stage. After initial progress was made in 1996 when IBM’s Deep Blue beat World Chess Champion Gary Kasparov, IBM’s Watson then beat human champions in Jeopardy, and more recently Google’s DeepMind conquered the ancient Chinese game of Go. Google Photos generates videos (with music) automatically from images on my phone. It’s becoming obvious that deep strategic thinking is at least possible using machines.

So, can a machine create a video narrative? Could we tell the difference?

The unfortunate fact is, of course, that the Morgan trailer is hollow and poorly-paced (even with the help of an “IBM filmmaker”), and the musicians behind the AI-directed “Eclipse” music video have distanced themselves from the end product.

Looking deeper into each of these projects, they still required a human hand to direct/collate/guide the machine — it’s a ground-up approach to AI, so there’s no “Watson Video Editing Software” on the market.

However, the building blocks have already been created — the Google search engine uses natural-language processing, and Wolfgram Alpha accepts commands in basic English. We now have (pretty good) automatic web summaries and headline analysers. There’s a reason why Google’s Principal Filmmaker Jessica Brillhart thinks Zork’s language processing will heavily influence the future of VR.

It seems that although we probably have a while to go before creativity is realistically threatened in any way, most people won’t care if something has been created by computer. For example, much of the in-house promotions we currently see on TV channels are packaged in a way that wouldn’t require human intervention — so perhaps it might not be that long after all (for specific situations).

So a machine can assemble a video (I even hesitate to use the words ‘edit’ or ‘direct’). But not very well — at least not yet. However, as Linguistics expert Noam Chomsky said, perhaps we are even asking the wrong question:

“Thinking is a human feature. Will AI someday really think? That’s like asking if submarines swim. If you call it swimming then robots will think, yes.”

via ibm.com and bbc.com

The Amazon Dash Button

Amazon’s branded Dash Buttons were introduced in March 2015, allowing products to be easily re-ordered with a single click of the battery-powered device — not to be confused with the unbranded UK AmazonFresh version (which works like a miniature version of the popular hands-free Amazon Echo).

As an inexpensive (US$4.99) wifi-enabled IoT device, in less than 3 months they were starting to be re-purposed. There are a handful of approaches, from fairly non-technical ARP probe detection through to bare-metal reprogramming. Amazon themselves are also reaching out to developers and smaller brands with their Dash Replenishment Service.

Getting started seems pretty simple — when you get a Dash button, Amazon gives you a list of setup instructions to get going. Just follow their list of instructions, but don’t complete the final step . Do not select a product, and just exit the app.

Most techniques use something like IFTT to connect the button event to a IoT trigger of your choosing. Instructables has a great step-by-step tutorial, and there’s some great open-source code available on GitHub.

Amazon Dash Button (Tide) on washing machine
The Dash Button as it it usually used — to order more Amazon products (such as washing powder).

The detailed specs:

  • The CPU is a STM32F205RG6 processor which is an ARM Cortex-M3 that can run up to 120mhz and has 128 kilobytes of RAM and 1 megabyte of flash memory for program storage
  • The WiFi module is a BCM943362 module which in combination with the CPU make it a platform for Broadcom’s WICED SDK
  • There’s a 16 megabit SPI flash ROM which is typically used in conjunction with the WICED SDK for storing application data
  • An ADMP441 microphone is connected to the CPU and used by the Dash iOS application to configure the device using the speaker on a phone/tablet
  • There’s a single RGB LED and a button

Quite powerful for US$5.

However, the next step in this evolution has just been released — the AWS IoT Button.

The AWS IoT Button is a programmable button based on the Amazon Dash Button hardware. This simple Wi-Fi device is easy to configure and designed for developers to get started with AWS IoT, AWS Lambda, Amazon DynamoDB, Amazon SNS, and many other Amazon Web Services without writing device-specific code.

Targeted at developers, this US$20 version connects to the web using the Amazon Web Services Lambda platform without writing a line of code (ok, so not developers then). However, even the “Hello World” example described here seems quite technical — in some ways, even more so than hacking the original (and at four times the cost). It seems to have three types of button pushes, though — short, long and double for more interactions.

AWS IoT enables Internet-connected things to connect to the AWS cloud and lets applications in the cloud interact with Internet-connected things. Common IoT applications either collect and process telemetry from devices or enable users to control a device remotely.
Can Buyukberber - Tool

Can Buyukberber: Physics + Visuals

Most recently known for his live Tool visuals, Can Buyukberber is an independent visual artist & director specialising in audio/visual performance, digital visual arts and motion graphics design. He studied Physics and Visual Communication Design in Istanbul, Turkey. Currently studying at San Francisco Art Institute’s Art and Technology MFA program as a Fulbright Grantee and working on immersive experiences using sound, light and space.

His works have been exhibited in Europe and Northern America including large scale a/v projects at Signal Light Festival (CZ), International Digital Arts Biennial (CAN), IX Immersion Experience Symposium (CAN), Currents New Media Festival (US). He is interested in translating observations and insights on the immanent intelligence of nature, self-organising systems, formations in time and patterns of the invisible space between the objects into visible, audible, tangible expressions.

via canbuyukberber.com

The Stanley Parable

The Stanley Parable (and more…)

The Stanley Parable (adapted from the free original Half-Life 2 mod) is an exploration of story, games, and choice. Except the story doesn’t matter, it might not even be a game, and if you ever actually do have a choice, well let me know how you did it.

It was a collaboration between Davey and UK designer William Pugh, working together as Galactic Cafe. The game expanded substantially upon the mod version, adding substantial amounts of new content, new endings, a complete overhaul of the visual designs, and new voicework from Kevan Brighting.

The game was one of the first to be approved for Steam via the Greenlight community feature. It went on to sell over a million copies, win such awards as the IGF 2014 Audience Choice award, and be featured in schools and museums all over the world.

A free demo and the full version can be purchased here.

The Beginner’s Guide is a narrative video game for Mac and PC. It lasts about an hour and a half and has no traditional mechanics, no goals or objectives. Instead, it tells the story of a person struggling to deal with something they do not understand. It can be purchased here.

Dr. Langeskov, The Tiger And The Terribly Cursed Emerald: A Whirlwind Heist is a free-to-play “15 minute heist game” in which you’ll become a master thief, burglarizing his way across the hottest summer in Europe. It features voice acting by British comedian Simon Amstell, formerly the host of Never Mind the Buzzcocks, who seems to be having a bit of a stressful time explaining exactly what it is you’ll be doing on this job.

Kadenze Creative Coding

International Month of Creative Code

Kadenze has joined forces with many leading universities, institutions, and organizations to declare May as the “International Month of Creative Code.” A full month out of every year will now be dedicated towards putting the spotlight on creative code-related events, new courses, artist features, interviews, and projects.

There’s a number of wide-ranging courses on the link below — from “Introduction to Programming for Musicians and Digital Artists” to “Creative Programming for Audiovisual Art”, there’s something there for everyone. Everyone who’s interested in Creative Code, that is.

Notably, there seems to be a movement away from Processing towards the more browser-friendly Javascript-based P5 library.

via creativeapplications.net

McTrax: A Paper Placemat Music Production Studio

McDonald’s McTrax: Play the Placemat

Creating music can really trigger creativity in (young) people. That’s why McDonald’s in the Netherlands introduced McTrax: a paper placemat turned into a full music production station.

By the use of conductive ink on a piece of paper you can connect your smartphone to the placemat via Bluetooth.

via thefwa.com

Portrait by Jonathan Worth

An Internet of Things that act like inkjet printers

Cory Doctorow explains at O’Reilly’s OSCON (covering open source tools, enterprise, architecture, infrastructure, community and more) in Austin, Texas why the Internet of Things that includes DRM may not be the best option.

It may, in fact be the worst.

Cory is a science fiction novelist, blogger and technology activist. He is the co-editor of the popular weblog Boing Boing, and a contributor to The Guardian, Publishers Weekly, Wired, and many other newspapers, magazines and websites. He is a special consultant to the Electronic Frontier Foundation, a non-profit civil liberties group that defends freedom in technology law, policy, standards and treaties. He holds an honorary doctorate in computer science from the Open University (UK), where he is a Visiting Professor; in 2007, he served as the Fulbright Chair at the Annenberg Center for Public Diplomacy at the University of Southern California.

via oreilly.com

Bob Dylan — Like A Rolling Stone

This interactive video (from 2013) is the song’s first official video. It allows viewers to use their keyboards or cursors to flip through 16 channels that mimic TV formats such as games shows, shopping networks and reality series. People on each channel, no matter what TV trope they represent, are seen lip-syncing the lyrics.

“I’m using the medium of television to look back right at us,” director Vania Heymann told Mashable. “You’re flipping yourself to death with switching channels [in real life].” Adds Interlude CEO Yoni Bloch: “You’ll always miss something because you can’t watch everything at the same time.”

The stations you can flip through include a cooking show, The Price Is Right, Pawn Stars, local news, a tennis match, a children’s cartoon, BBC News and a live video of Dylan and the Hawks playing “Like a Rolling Stone” in 1966.

via mashable.com and bobdylan.com

The Genius of Claude Shannon

I’ve always been a follower of Claude Shannon and the incredible work he did regarding Communication Theory (i.e. signal/noise) while at Bell Labs. He knew enough to refrain from over-explanations — and in doing so he also invented the broader discipline of Information Theory. He coined the term ‘bit’, and was just as influential to computers and information networks as Alan Turing. He built the first juggling robot.

I just finished reading a quite comprehensive history of this subject — The Information by James Gleick. From Amazon’s description: “We live in the information age. But every era of history has had its own information revolution: the invention of writing, the composition of dictionaries, the creation of the charts that made navigation possible, the discovery of the electronic signal, the cracking of the genetic code. In ‘The Information’ James Gleick tells the story of how human beings use, transmit and keep what they know. From African talking drums to Wikipedia, from Morse code to the ‘bit’, it is a fascinating account of the modern age’s defining idea and a brilliant exploration of how information has revolutionised our lives.”

There’s also a great (and greatly simplified) video essay below about his work by the fantastic Adam Westbrook.

April 30th 2016 marks the centenary of his birth, and there are a number of celebrations marking this event. Many of his seminal papers (including the crucial A Mathematical Theory of Information) are available here.

Admittedly, his work sounds a little dry, however — along with John von Neumann and George Boole — his work ushered in the digital revolution as we know it today, and will continue to influence how we think about computers well into the future.

via amazon.co.uk and delve.tv

Transhumanism & Biohacking

Wearable technology has taken the next logical step — implants.

From LEDs to NFCs and RFIDs, consumers are looking at ways of applying medical approaches to implant consumer-grade technology. So-called Grindhouse Wetware (or “Grinders”) view this as next level body augmentation (i.e. piercings on steroids), and with the Maker revolution you can now cheerfully implant this technology yourself at home. You can already buy an all-in-one syringe kit (based on animal LifeChip transponders — for when your cat or dog goes missing).

Bodyhacking — turning yourself into a cyborg — also includes enhancements to existing senses (such as infra-red eyesight) or creating new senses (such as sensing magnetic north or radio frequencies). A lot of this technology was initially developed for people with disabilities or impairments (such as cochlear implants for the deaf, and retina implants for the blind). Artificial hearts and pacemakers could be seen as the ancestors of embedded tech.

It’s only a matter of time before you’ll be able to swipe your Oyster card with your wrist. Never forget your keys again!

via dangerousthings.com and iflscience.com

The Website Obesity Crisis

Incredibly humorous, well-written and researched article by Maciej Cegłowski about bloated website size – branching into Russian literature, Google’s Accelerated Mobile Pages and Facebook’s Instant Articles. It’s the text version of the talk he gave on October 29, 2015, at the Web Directions conference in Sydney.

Topics covered include:

  1. The Crisis
  2. Fake Fixes
  3. Fat Ads
  4. Fat Assets
  5. Chickenshit Minimalism
  6. Interface Sprawl
  7. Heavy Clouds
  8. Stirring Conclusion

via idlewords.com

Giorgia Lupi @ Accurat

Giorgia Lupi is an information designer in Brooklyn, New York. Her work and research challenges the impersonality that data might communicate, designing engaging visual narratives able to connect numbers to what they stand for: knowledge, behaviors, people. She is co-founder and design director at Accurat, a data driven research-design and innovation firm. She has been drawing weekly data as 1/2 of Dear Data from New York.

via brainpickings.com

The Blockchain Institute: Beyoncé vs Bitcoin

I wonder how long it will be before this form of e‑parody explodes.

If you look on Twitter, you will find that someone set up the Blockchain Institute. Perhaps this official-sounding organisation will come up with some good ideas as to the practical application of blockchain?

A quick look through the institute’s Twitter mentions shows people thanking it for sharing conferences and blogs, criticising it for not crediting imagesincluding it in conversationsconnecting it with friends, and asking it questions. But the Blockchain Institute is a computer program. Not only that, it’s a program that tweets nonsense.

It replaces the word blockchain with Beyoncé and bitcoin with feminism. If it sees a tweet that says “blockchain is a star because of bitcoin” it changes it to “Beyoncé is a star because of feminism”. There is no new content. The computer program does word substitution. Nothing more complex. Yet people are struggling to spot that it’s simply copying other people’s thoughts, words and ideas and — for some reason known only to its creator — adding in a bit of extra Beyoncé and feminism.

People are trusting opinions without recognising they are coming from a machine, or that they don’t actually make any sense.

via marketingmagazine.co.uk and twitter.com

Random International

Founded in 2005, Random International is a collaborative studio for experimental practice within contemporary art.

Taking science as a means to develop a new material vocabulary, their work invites consideration of the man/machine relationship through explorations of behaviour and natural phenomena, with the viewer an active participant.

Random International is led by founders Florian Ortkrass and Hannes Koch, who met at Brunel University before going on to study at the Royal College of Art. Ortkrass and Koch led the creative direction of the studio alongside cohort Stuart Wood until his departure in 2015. Based in London, with an outpost in Berlin, the studio today includes a wider team of diverse and complementary talent.

via random-international.com