Facebook Announces Bug Bounty Loyalty Program, Streamlined Bug Triage


Facebook has announced a series of updates for its bug bounty program, including bonus rewards for engaged researchers, as well as a faster bug triage process.

Extra rewards and benefits, Facebook says, are being offered as part of Hacker Plus, a loyalty program meant for those researchers who are actively identifying vulnerabilities in its products. Researchers may also receive access to soon-to-be-released products and features, and invites to annual events.

The Hacker Plus program has five leagues, with the cumulative quantity of “submissions, scores and signal-to-noise ratio over the last 24 months” the determining factor for being placed in a league or another.

Based on the league, researchers are eligible for receiving bonuses ranging between 5% (Bronze league) and 20% (Diamond league) on top of each bounty they are awarded. All bounty rewards received starting October 9 at 12:00 a.m. UTC include the relevant Hacker Plus bonus, Facebook says.

Researchers who reach the Diamond league before the end of the calendar year will also receive an Oculus Quest 2 headset (64GB). Further information on eligibility and bonuses can be found on the loyalty program’s page.

“League eligibility is determined on a 12 month rolling basis so it is always possible to reach the top, any time of year,” Facebook says.

Additionally, the social media platform announced that it streamlined the triage of security vulnerabilities reported through its bug bounty program, to increase efficiency and lower response timeframe.

For that, the company introduced a tool that leverages Facebook Bug Description Language (FBDL) to help researchers “quickly and easily set up bug reproduction steps using a standard bug description language.”

Now released to the stable channel, FBDL should help researchers build a test environment fast and easily provide Facebook with information on how to reproduce a bug.

“This will make our intake process more straightforward and standardized. Researchers who participate in our bug bounty program come from all over the world and speak a variety of languages. FBDL will help make bounty reports easier to submit by providing a universal language to demonstrate findings and potential impact,” Facebook says.

FBDL is expected to result in researchers receiving quicker feedback, and should also speed up payout decisions. Already used internally at Facebook, the tool makes the evaluation of bug reports more efficient, and diminishes the time needed for researchers to provide additional information on how a potential vulnerability works and reproduction steps.

“As a further incentive to use FBDL, we’ll issue a bonus to researchers who submit verified bug reports that receive a bounty award starting at 12:00 a.m. UTC on October 9, 2020. The bonus will be 5% of the base bounty award, but no more than $500 (of note, the base bounty award does not include Hacker Plus bonuses),” Facebook says.

Information on eligibility can be found here.

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Ionut Arghire is an international correspondent for SecurityWeek.

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