Facebook Updates Stream Publishing Policy For Developers

When Facebook opened up their “stream” to developers via the Open Stream API last year, they arguably added potential value for end users and are now trying to provide consistency of use in applications. The Facebook Developer Blog has a new post indicating a policy update on the devopment use of the Open Stream API that is intended to improve the experience for end users.

Here’s a summary of the policy updates that all Facebook developers should take note of. All of these refer only to features with in 3rd-party Facebook applications, not necessarily regular Facebook features, and are my own interpretation of the Develop Blog post.

  1. Single Wall feed publishing. An app should not let a Feed story be published to more than one friend’s Wall simultaneously.
  2. Controlled photo tagging. An app should not let images be mis-tagged. That is, you can tag a photo of person, but not suggest that person is in a collage image (like some of annoying apps have been doing). Honestly, not sure how any app can control this, which means that developers probably will not implement photo tagging of people. (That is, how would a Facebook app know whether an image is of a person or a diagram without implementing facial recognition software?) This policy update seems to go hand in hand with the possibility that Facebook users will get to approve all photo tags of themselves.
  3. Controlled feed publishing. A user has to explicitly allow publishing of a Feed story. That is, they need to check a box or click a button to confirm that they want to publish something to their Feed. In other words, no more annoying Wall updates when you finish playing a game, unless you say so.

The policy update also discusses product intent, which suggests that Extended Permissions have not been used by developers for their intended purpose. As such, Facebook is clarifying the terms under which developers can use extended permissions. Please check the Facebook Developer Blog for further details of these policy update changes and a discussion of the real “product intent.”

Do these policy updates affect you in any way as a developer? Feel free to share in the comments.