Facebook Announces Important Policy Changes for Developers

On the eve of f8, Facebook’s Paul Jeffries announced yesterday updates to Facebook’s Platform policies. As developers are aware by now, it’s important to be up to date on what Facebook considers acceptable application behavior.

Here’s a summary of the new policies:

  • Applications are no longer allowed to “create artificial or inappropriate incentives to use Facebook features (including, for example, sending requests and adding profile boxes)”
  • Developers “should not intrude on the user’s experience by prompting for a permission [to integrate into a user’s profile] if doing so isn’t appropriate in the natural flow of events”
  • Developer ads are not allowed to appear “on the newly launched features that deeply integrate into profiles (tabs, Publisher, and application info sections),” just as they’re not allowed to appear on the profile box today
  • Notifications and feed items “should be timely, accurate, informative, valuable, non-deceptive, and anticipated by the sender. They can contain calls to action, which are sometimes great ways to stimulate engagement and sharing of information. But to do that, they must be on-topic, oriented towards the user’s interest, and non-spammy.”

The policy regarding ads on “newly launched features” goes into effect at 12:00pm PT on July 28, while all other new policies go into effect at 12:00pm PT on August 11.

Clearly Facebook is taking a more aggressive stance to curb application spam by cutting down on unwanted profile integration and use of Facebook communication channels. The challenge, of course, is going to be enforcing these inherently subjective policies to the vast variety of Facebook application behaviors and designs in a consistent way.