Facebook’s New App Rules Means Your Content Consumption Can’t Be Automatically Shared

Facebook got in some deep doo-doo with the Federal Trade Commission for allowing users’ “Likes” to be turned into marketing tools in Sponsored Stories, and now it seems they’re trying to make up for it. In a new post on the Facebook developers blog, the company says apps will now need user permission to share user content as they’re consuming it.

You know what this means? You won’t be able to judge your friends so easily for listening to Lana Del Rey on repeat. Unless he/she decides to give a music app permission to do so. Or you can wait until afterward and just manually share the fact on Facebook that your music taste is somewhat embarrassing.

In the post, product engineer Henry Zhang lays down the law for third-party apps.

“In order to provide users with experiences that meet their expectations, we will no longer approve custom actions that publish stories as people consume content. These apps must use the appropriate built-in actions or create a different sharing experience.

Zhang explains to developers that hey, guess what? Having every little thing you do be automatically shared with your social network pals can freak people out.

“Apps that help people automatically share stories about content as they consume it, such as the music you are listening to, can be good experiences when apps create clear expectations for the user of what is being shared and when. When apps automatically publish stories on a person’s behalf in a way that is unexpected, such as when they browse an online store, it can surprise and confuse people.”

This feeling of surprise and confusion was recently expressed to me when a friend had to ask if I could see every song he was listening to in Spotify on my Facebook newsfeed. If you don’t even know what you’re sharing or when, that’s a fail for the user experience.

Growing Quality Apps with Open Graph [Facebook Developers Blog]
Facebook to ask your permission before sharing your actions [NBC News]