Facebook Public Profile Statuses Officially Become Public

Big news for developers today: public profile status updates can now be accessed through the developer API. Andy Young, the developer behind Selective Twitter Status, was the first developer that we’ve seen to figure out a way to update public profile statuses via Twitter. Earlier today his application added a feature which now enables any Twitter user to update their public profile directly. This also means that applications can now effectively update public profile statuses, something that many developers were waiting for.

Interestingly enough, it doesn’t appear that Facebook has technically added any new functionality in regards to updating a public profile’s status. Instead, Andy Young was clever enough to realize that all an application needs to do is pass the public profile’s admin to Facebook’s authorize.php page (http://www.facebook.com/authorize.php?api_key=YOUR_API_KEY&v=1.0&ext_perm=status_update&next=REDIRECT_PAGE). By using the page ID just as a profile ID in the Status.set API call, you can then update any public profile’s status that has granted you permission to do so.
As I’ve written previously, this was a feature that many developers have been waiting for but apparently they don’t need to wait any longer! Facebook has not been heavily promoting this capability but I’m sure we’ll see a ton of new applications leverage this functionality. Also of interest is that unfiltered access to public profile statuses means there could be many new applications that do the same type of data mining that a few Twitter applications have produced.
For example, someone could theoretically develop a public profile status search. Using the Facebook API Test Console, you can view the status updates of many pages that you are not a fan of. In the very near future we could soon begin seeing a number of aggregators that track the conversations taking place via Facebook public profiles.
I’m not sure if Facebook just began granting developers access to the status updates but this is another step by Facebook to duplicate much of Twitter’s functionality. To recap, as of today there are two new capabilities for developers: all applications can view any public profile’s status updates and developers can be granted access to update public profile statuses.
This is a huge update and I’m assuming there will be many more in the near future. Will you be developing applications that leverage public profile status updates?