Platform Update: Third-Party ID Deadline Extension and Index, Timezone-Less Events

In this week’s Platform Update on the Facebook Developer blog, Facebook announced a one-month extension of the deadline for implementing third-party identifiers, an index for these identifiers, a new ad providers list, and the migration to timezone-less Events for the Graph API. Facebook also formally announced improvements to Insights which we previously covered, as well as the display of additions to the recently launched change log on the Platform Live Status page.

Third-Party Identifier Deadline Extended

The implementation deadline for Facebook’s iframe POST solution to the User ID sharing issue has been extended from January 1st, 2011 to January 31st, 2011. The change mandates that developers embed UIDs in an HTTP POST body so they aren’t exposed in an HTTP Referrer header. The extension will reduce the number of developers who haven’t complied, easing police work for Facebook and “minimizing impact to applications and mostly importantly, Facebook users.”

Third-Party Identifier Index

To assist developers who don’t wish to store the mapping of a UID to a third-party ID, or who want to map in bulk, Facebook has added a third_party_id field to the user FQL table. Developers use their access token and the third_party_id to retrieve the UID with the following query:

https://api.facebook.com/method/fql.query?

query=select uid from user where third_party_id="[third_party_id]"&

access_token=[App Access Token]

This resource shifts the mapping burden to Facebook, simplifying implementation of the iframe POST solution for developers.

Ad Providers List

To help developers find trustworthy advertising providers who comply with Facebook’s data use rules, Facebook has created the ad providers list. This whitelist will encourage companies to sign Facebook’s terms and improve accountability, as well as make it easy for developers to find high quality Facebook services, similar to Facebook’s Preferred Developer Consultant list, and our own Facebook Marketing Service Directory.

Timezone-Less Events

Facebook developers have long had trouble with Event start and end times due to several bugs and the fact that event times were timezone specific. These bugs have since been fix and developers can now return timezone-less Event times from the Graph API. This will help ensure that Event times appear correctly regardless of the timezone of the viewer.

Deprecated API Testing

Developers wishing to test the impact of the migration away from a set of old APIs being removed at the start of 2011 can manually toggle the changes using a setting in the Advanced tab of the Developer app. Facebook says “these these settings will be automatically enabled on January 3rd, [and the APIs will be] removed altogether on January 7th.”