Facebook App Developers Can Now Offer Users Explicitly Shared Actions

By David Cohen 

Facebook introduced what it calls explicitly shared actions, which allows developers to give users of their applications the option of sharing actions within those apps, such as Foursquare check-ins and Instagram photos, as if they were directly posted to the social network.

In a post on its developer blog, Facebook stressed that the feature must be optional for users of apps, and it outlined the types of actions that are eligible for the explicitly shared actions feature, as well as those that are not.

The social network said in the developer blog post:

We expect this change will drive more traffic to apps that people use to proactively share content to Facebook and result in no significant impact for all other types of apps. Explicitly shared actions are eligible to appear as stand-alone stories in news feed, and they’ll appear consistently on the left side of a person’s timeline. All other activity will continue to appear in ticker, trending units and aggregations in news feed, and in recently activity and aggregations on timeline.

Explicitly shared content needs to be optional for users to post and have a clear Facebook sharing control that’s visible in every instance of sharing (not separate in a settings area). Eligible explicitly shared actions include:

  • Sharing a user-generated photo
  • Sharing your location (check-ins, routes, etc.)
  • User-generated messages

The following types of actions should not generally be labeled as explicitly shared:

  • Actions that occur naturally in an app, such as listening, reading, watching, and using
  • Lightweight social buttons, such as liking, loving, favoriting, and saving
  • Low-signal activities that happen bulk, such as following, friending, and passing
  • Functional parts of game play, such as playing, earning, building, and gifting

There may be scenarios when a specific action is sometimes explicitly shared and other it’s not. For example, someone could sync all the recipes they want to cook their timeline, but sometimes also add comments to the recipes they want to cook. You should only include this new parameter in the instances where a user clearly intends to share their activity on Facebook.

If you choose to use the explicitly shared parameter, you will need to resubmit each eligible action. We will review apps to ensure that they’re properly using the feature as outlined above. We’re continuing to make our approval process more efficient, but please expect reviews to initially take up to seven business days for feedback.

Readers: How will explicitly shared actions affect your use of apps?