Meta has always been about connecting people to what they love—not only friends and family, but also brands, businesses and products. We recently introduced Facebook Shops
to make it easier for people to discover and shop for things they love, and to help small businesses adapt to selling their products online. With Facebook Shops, businesses of any size can create an online store on Facebook and Instagram for free.
For Yaniv S., an engineering manager in Tel Aviv, the opportunity to help small businesses hits close to home. “I know many local business owners, and seeing how COVID-19 affected them was painful,” he says. “It’s more important than ever for us to help businesses—particularly small businesses—build a presence, connect with customers and sell their products and services on our platforms.”
Team members in Tel Aviv are building the infrastructure behind Facebook Shops that will power the future of commerce at Meta. Additionally, Tel Aviv is home to a pivotal machine learning team at Meta focused on commerce.
Creating a seamless shopping experience
Before Yaniv joined Meta, he worked in the high-tech industry in Tel Aviv and earned his PhD in computer science. “Meta’s leadership in artificial intelligence was a big draw,” he says. Yaniv spent four years in Meta’s New York office, building machine learning services for geographical data. Two years ago, he moved back to Tel Aviv and started a team working on software infrastructure, before joining the Facebook Shops team.
“Facebook Shops is an exciting initiative. We’re trying to create a space where merchants can share the story behind their products and where people can have a personalized, seamless shopping experience—all while using Meta technologies.” Yaniv says.
Critical to providing this experience is understanding the complex relationships between people and products. To optimize the shopping experience for businesses and customers, engineers in Tel Aviv must understand the nuances of each product a merchant has in their catalog. This includes contextualizing how they relate to each other and how they relate to customers.
There are multiple teams dedicated to understanding these relationships. One team is focused on semantic extraction—the process of using photos, products descriptions and catalog attributes to identify product items and infer deep tags and characteristics about them. Another team is creating various clustering methods that automatically organize products into small groups, like things you might buy for trips to the beach.
“This work is essential. For merchants, it enables them to reach and engage the right audience. And for shoppers, it creates a seamless experience when a shop can recommend products that are most relevant to them.”
An opportunity to transform commerce
Yaniv says one of the biggest challenges his team faces is making the Facebook Shops infrastructure effective for different verticals. “Cars are very different from clothing, which is different from jewelry. Each vertical has a definition of what is similar or what are comparative purchases. This is a huge problem space. There is a lot of data that we need to work with, and a lot of it is missing or noisy.”
Another big challenge for Yaniv’s team is measurement. He says, “As a technical team building infrastructure, we want to understand how our work helps merchants and their customers. Measurement is a big focus for us, because when we measure how our services are being used, we can understand the value we provide.”
“We need our data engineers to think big,” Yaniv continues. “There are many different commerce initiatives across Meta. For example, there’s a lot of work being done within Meta to completely transform the shopping experience through artificial intelligence, augmented reality and virtual reality. Engineers can move the needle by building services that other commerce teams at Meta can mobilize at scale.”
A culture of empowerment and growth
Yaniv describes the Tel Aviv office environment as open and direct, yet a place where team members can socialize and have fun. “There’s a very supportive culture, and people enjoy spending time together. Right now, we’re still working from home and I miss coming to work every day.”
The Tel Aviv office is growing, with more teams building their presence there. This offers diverse opportunities for engineers to work on different projects, from ads and business platforms to connectivity and Novi. “There’s a strong investment in career growth. Managers are focused on helping engineers find challenging problems to work on and encouraging mobility.” Yaniv says.
“People who are excited about data—working with it, making discoveries and making an impact—will find a lot of opportunity on our team,” Yaniv continues. “There are a lot of hard engineering and machine learning problems to solve when it comes to commerce, and we’re excited to be tackling them.”
Careers in Tel Aviv