Platform Update: Facebook Lets Developers Ask a User for Their Address, Phone Number in the Graph API

In another part of its effort to become the main artery for social data, Facebook is now allowing developers to ask a given user for their physical address and phone number within the user object of the Graph API. This information, announced as part of this week’s developer blog post update, helps anyone from game developers to mail and phone marketers reach directly to where users are at all times.

Because it’s so sensitive, Facebook requires developers to ask for a separate set of permissions within the main “Request for Permission” interface. Now developers can build applications that leverage this new access to user data, though note that developers can only be granted access to the address and mobile phone number of the user authenticating the application – not that user’s friends as well.

Given this new sharing option, users should be even more careful about reading what they see on the permissions page, rather than just clicking through. While quick sharing makes for a more seamless user experience, we could see Facebook itself providing an additional prompt asking users to confirm that they want to share this information, in order to help prevent accidental sharing.

This change to the Graph API will enable the development of a new generation of mobile and location-based applications.

The other piece of news from the post this week: Facebook has added a long-requested way to subscribe to the “edge.remove” to track when a user unlikes a page. This will Page admins immediately recognize if something they’ve done, like post a controversial status update, is causing users to unsubscribe. Facebook recently added an easier way to unlike Pages through a button on news feed stories, so admins should subscribe to “edge.remove” for real-time data on user departures.

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