Game “discovery” stories published to the news feed when a friend starts playing a Facebook game now show the profile pictures of other friends who also play the game. Users were also recently given the option to remove, mute, or blacklist an application upon deleting a story that app posted to their wall.
Facebook began altering how games appear in the news feed following an event at Facebook headquarters last month where Mark Zuckerberg said that “one of the biggest drivers of negative experiences has been games”. Along with new requests, bookmarking, and social action incentive systems, Facebook is trying to help developers move away from the “ring of fire” where developers have to buy ads or aggressively promote games to new users, even as older ones leave.
Facebook’s VP of Partnerships and Platform Marketing Dan Rose said Facebook doesn’t want feed posts to non-gamers to be about specific things which happened in the game. “The post about the game has no context, but the fact that they’re playing does. The discovery stories are going to be an important part of the user acquisition channel.” However, in-app Likes still produce feed stories about specific in-game content such as virtual goods.
When a friend installs a game and crosses a small engagement threshold, users will see a story in their news feed stating “[Friend] started playing [Game]”. Rich discovery stories show the game’s profile picture and description. Below this information and above the action link, users now see text stating “[Another Friend] and [#] other friends also play”, along with mini-thumbnail profile pictures of those friends.
Adding the facepile creates game discovery stories which alert users to both a new action by one friend, and the sustained engagement of others. This creates a compelling indirect social recommendation which encourages users to try the game. Note that these stories only appear in the feeds of friends, and not on the wall of the user who installed the game.
Remove, Mute, or Blacklist Apps When Removing Their Posts
If a user sees a post from a game or application on their wall which they don’t want others to see, they can click the “Remove” button which appears when the story is hovered over. This pops up a remove confirmation message which now includes new options such as “Remove [Application] from my list of applications”, “Don’t allow [Application] to publish without asking me”, or “Blacklist [Application] and add it to my blacklist”.
These options helps users mute the spammy application instead of merely fighting the spam itself.