The conference, created for developers and entrepreneurs who build products centred on Facebook, has previously been the place where the social network's bosses have announced important changes like site redesigns, embeddable 'Like' buttons and its 'social graph' framework.
The 'Bot Store' would likely allow users to download a range of automated programs which they could interact with through Messenger.
People might download a pizza chain's bot, allowing them to order food simply by sending it a message with what they want. Alternatively, they might be able to book cinema tickets, order taxis, make restaurant reservations, check their bank balances or check in for flights, all by sending regular messages to a smart conversational robot. Facebook bots could replace browsers and apps, bringing everything onto a single service.
Users of chat platforms like Telegram and Slack have been using bots to add features for a long time, but bringing the technology to Facebook's 1 billion users could take it to the mainstream.
10 facts you didn’t know about Facebook
10 facts you didn’t know about Facebook
Around 350 million photos are uploaded to Facebook every day, with the site estimating in September last year that users had so far put up more than 250 billion images. That’s 4,000 photos uploaded every second and around 4 per cent of all photos ever taken, according to a study by Nokia.
Facebook’s logo is blue because Mark Zuckerberg is red-green colour blind. “Blue is the richest color for me. I can see all of blue," said Zuckerberg in an interview with the New Yorker. The colour is so popular that Facebook’s campus store even sells nail polish in the exact shade named ‘social butterfly blue’.
Zuckerberg's famously low-key wardrobe (either a grey t-shirt or a hoodie) is so that the CEO saves time deciding what to wear each day. However, Zuckerberg is known to dress up when the occasion demands it. For a 2011 event with Barack Obama he showed up in a suit, with the president introducing himself by saying: “I’m Barack Obama and I’m the guy who got Mark to wear a jacket and tie.”
In July 2006 Zuckerberg turned down a $1 billion offer for the site from Yahoo. He was 22 years old at the time and owned 25 per cent of the company. Zuckerberg reportedly turned it down by saying “I don't know what I could do with the money. I'd just start another social networking site. I kind of like the one I already have.” He definitely made the right choice: Facebook is now valued at $135 billion.
A YouGov poll claimed that three-quarter of UK Facebook users' photos showed someone drinking or inebriated. However, the poll did ask users to estimate the number of boozy snaps themselves, and like all things on Facebook, there might have been an element of exaggeration involved.
Facebook operates a bounty hunter program – for bugs. Like many other big technology companies Facebook offers cash rewards to security researchers who point out flaws in the site’s code. The minimum payout is $500 and the largest prize to date has been $33,500.
More than a third of divorce filings in 2011 referenced Facebook, said a survey from UK-based legal firm Divorce Online. The exact figures may be an estimate, but with just under 8 trillion Facebook messages sent in 2013 it’s certain that a substantial body of evidence is to be found on the social network.
Zuckerberg isn’t much of a Twitter fan. Despite having nearly three hundred thousand followers on the service he’s only tweeted 19 times - once in 2012 and the rest in 2009. Although Facebook dwarfs twitter in terms of active users (1 billion compared with 200 million by some accounts) the micro-blogging site handles breaking news better. Facebook has introduced trending topics and hashtags to counter this.
Following the financial crisis of 2008 and 2009 Iceland decided to rewrite their constitution using Facebook to solicit suggestions from citizens. Unfortunately, despite this forward thinking approach, the document was killed by politicians in mid-2013 for various (mostly technical) reasons.
You can browse Facebook upside down. Facebook currently supports more than 70 different languages – including English (Pirate) and English (Upside Down). Check the bottom of the column on the right of your newsfeed and click your current language to change!
In the same way that many businesses have developed around a single mobile app (like Uber or Snapchat, both multi-billion-dollar companies), or integrated Facebook into their day-to-day work, a dedicated bot platform would provide organisations with a whole new way of doing business with customers.
As Facebook director Julien Codorniou told Wired last year, Messenger is "one per cent finished" - the company wants to turn the app from a simple chat service to an all-in-one online communications tool along the lines of China's WeChat, which has hundreds of millions of users and has built a huge number of shopping and business applications on top of its chat feature.
It's early days for bot technology, and although developers are very excited about it, users might not embrace it quickly. But it seems like people would jump at the chance to fit all their favourite mobile services into one platform, rather than having to deal with 30 different apps scattered around their phone.
This year's F8 conference will run from 12-13 April this year in San Francisco. We'll know more about Facebook's bot ambitions when it starts.