A couple years ago, Facebook envisioned profile tabs as a way for developers to reach users on their profile pages. The feature replaced the MySpace widget-like Boxes on user profiles that many developers grew through when the platform launched in 2007.
But, more recent site designs have focused user and developer attention on the news feed, requests and invites as ways of promoting enagement. So, as with Boxes, user profile tabs are becoming obsolete.
Facebook will stop letting users add tabs for third-party applications this coming Wednesday, October 13th. It will begin removing them all on November 3rd, following the roadmap plan for the feature that it introduced in August. Only tabs for the company’s only applications will remain on profile pages.
When announcing the plan to remove third-party user profile tabs in August, the company explained that these tabs had “low usage rates.” Some developers have been managing to get value out of these tabs but most have moved on long ago.
This, of course, does not apply to Pages. Facebook instead encourages third parties to build applications and content to appear within tabs on that feature in order to bolster the value that public figures, brands and other organizations get out of it.
Facebook provided these dates in a developer blog post today, that also included some other news. The read-or-revoke requests API, announced recently, is now available. Companies that use social plugins can now provide the “ref” attribute, allowing them to independently measure user engagement using third-party analytics tools (this option became available for the Like button a few months ago). And finally, Facebook says that it has listened to developer feedback and is allowing them to again provide terms of service URLs in their applications; it will link the URL within the app permissions dialog box.