Facebook lets Open Graph apps publish to past points on Timeline

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By Brittany Darwell Comment

Open Graph apps can now post to past points on users’ Timelines, according to a post on the Facebook Developer Blog. The feature, previously in beta, enables a new wave of applications that let users fill in their profiles. For instance, users can use Wipolo to indicate that they went on a trip in June 2004 and have that activity display at the right date on Timeline. Urbanspoon users can check into restaurants after the fact and have the action automatically show up in the appropriate spot. Apps that help users chronicle their past like this are a key way to enhance Timeline and could be a big opportunity for marketers and developers to engage consumers in new ways. Actions that are set more than three days in the past will not show in Ticker or News Feed. This will allow users to fill in several aspects of their Timelines at once without overtaking their friends’ feeds. Past actions will populate the monthly and yearly app aggregations as predefined by the developer.

Facebook added a new section on its developer site focused on publishing past actions. It encourages developers to provide transparency about how past actions will be posted and give users control over the functions. Posting past actions will generate a notification indicating that a past action has been posted to a user’s Timeline.

There are still some trade-offs associated with using Open Graph. Images, for example, cannot be shared as large as they can with the Photos API. (We covered these issues in more depth here.) But overall, Facebook has smartly added more resources for those working with Open Graph to promote past-tense sharing.

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