Facebook Implements New API-Controlled Test User System for App Developers

Facebook has implemented a new application testing system which allow developers to easily create tester user accounts. The fake accounts can be generated and friend each other through the Open Graph, but can’t interact with real users or public content such as Pages. They won’t ever be disabled by Facebook’s spam or fake account detection systems. This should remove the need for developers to manually create and manage fake accounts which are in violation of Facebook’s terms of service.

Previously, developers had to designate real accounts as Platform Application Test Accounts, but these accounts couldn’t test sandbox applications, and could never be returned to normal user status. The new system allows for sandbox as well as live application testing, and creates new accounts instead of converting existing accounts. 50 test users can be created for each application, and can be accessed by any developer associated with the app.

The new Test Users system comes with a set of API calls which use the access token of the application being tested. Along with creating test users and forging friendship connections between them, each user can be given a different set of extended permissions, make API calls, and be deleted once no longer needed. However, test users “cannot edit any technical settings or access insights” of the application they are testing.

Currently, test users can only be controlled via the API, though Facebook says developers will eventually be able to control them through the Developer application. The new Test User system should come as a relief to devs who were wasting time manually controlling test users and creating new ones when Facebook discovered and disabled their fake accounts.

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