ISG: Facebook Application Gating and Gifting Features Shift to Fit Changing Platform Policies

[Editor’s note: This article was co-authored by Eric Eldon.]

When Facebook began enforcing new policy changes in mid December, the company called the move a “philosophical approach to platform governance.” As we covered, “instead of trying to spell out all the rules in detail, it is laying out more general principles and reserving the right to make policy enforcements when its policy team deems doing so to be necessary.”

Looking at what has and hasn’t been enforced since the changes were implemented helps provide some insight into the policy team’s thinking thus far.

When is Gifting Okay?

The policy: “You must not prompt users to send invitations, requests, generate notifications, or use other Facebook communication channels immediately after a user allows access or returns to your application.”

Just about every game launched prior to the changes in December had gifts — where users send gifts to friends, in most cases to users not already playing the game — first and foremost in their viral marketing strategy. This is still still evident by the number of games where the first menu tab is “Free Gifts” or “Send Gifts.” In reviewing 98 game applications with over 100,000 daily active users (DAU), only about 20% of them did NOT have a gifts component at the start of the game (the largest was Popcap’s Bejeweled Blitz with 2.8 million DAU).

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