Flexible Sentences For Facebook’s Open Graph Allow Developers To Present More Context

By David Cohen 

Context is key, and Facebook is giving developers a way to add much more context to their open graph stories with its launch of flexible sentences.

Flexible sentences will allow developers to explain why Facebook users performed certain open graph actions, and the social network used concert locating application Songkick as an example, saying that by limiting Songkick to saying that a user was tracking a band, it was not clear why that user was doing so.

Facebook offered more details in a post on its developer blog announcing the introduction of flexible sentences for open graph:

To help people share better stories, sometimes you need to customize the syntax of the open graph. Today we’re launching flexible sentences, an advanced feature that lets you modify sentence structure and build richer stories.

In certain instances, the default sentence structure may be awkward or lack context. For example, previously, if a person indicated that he tracked an artist on Songkick, a concert-finding app, it was not clear why.

With flexible sentences, Songkick is able to provide better context by adding words to describe what happened.

We’ve also updated the configuration tool to show the most frequently used story formats so you can prioritize those requiring adjustment.

Most stories will continue to be worded properly without needing to use flexible sentences. This functionality is only available for custom actions and will not work with built-in actions, which are intended to provide a consistent experience across all instances. If you modify your existing actions, you will need to resubmit your actions for approval via the app dashboard.

Flexible sentences is available today for developers, and we’re beginning to roll out the new story formats for users. To learn more about working with flexible sentences, please see our documentation.

Developers: Do you think flexible sentences will help you paint a clearer picture of how Facebook users are using your apps?