Facebook gives Like button functionality to third-party mobile and web app buttons

Facebook announced today that developers will be able to add a new Open Graph-enabled Like action to their apps so that users can easily share content back on Facebook.

Mobile and web app developers can now build custom buttons that function similarly to Facebook’s traditional Like button. For example, Instagram and Foursquare use hearts in their mobile apps. Now instead of those actions being seen within the app only, they can be published to Facebook without any additional steps. Further, when a user Likes their friend’s photo or story using the new Like action, the friend will receive a Facebook notification about it. This feature could help increase discovery and engagement of apps that integrate Open Graph.

Previously, mobile apps couldn’t integrate the Like button. The change also gives developers flexibility in their app design now that they don’t have to use Facebook’s standard Like button to achieve the same viral results. The only difference between the the new Like action and Facebook’s original social plugin is that users will have to authorize an app in order for custom buttons to publish to a user’s Facebook account. Developers should make it clear when users’ activity within apps will be posted to Facebook and only publish “Like” stories when users take an explicit action to Like something. Facebook notes that a user giving a movie a five-star rating does not qualify as a Like. Instead the app should use the “rated” action.

More information about implementing Open Graph Like actions is available from Facebook’s developer site here.