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Facebook Bans Custom Action Auto Posting for Some Apps



Facebook has decided to implement news rules regarding app activity postings in order to create a higher quality experience. Which is FB speak for ‘people are complaining about how much information is getting posted to their activity feed.’

In spite of a boat-load of user controls and share warnings, I once spent a half hour on Hulu without realizing that everything I clicked on was going straight to my Facebook page. Not that I mind people knowing I have an obsession with Pacific Blue but I was actually doing research for an article, so I generated dozens of updates as I skimmed through all the new shows on the site. Probably, nobody saw it and probably nobody cared, but I was surprised and a little shocked to see my history laid out in a public forum.

I’m computer savvy and I didn’t know I was doing that. What’s to become of people who aren’t wise to the ways of Facebook and the Internet? Incredibly, Facebook is grabbing hold of the reigns on this kind of thing with a new set of rules aimed at app developers.

Bear with me here as I’m not fully fluent in Programmer, but here’s how it looks to me. Facebook is eliminating all custom action auto posts on consumed content. “Consumed content” is when you hit a page on the web and it automatically sends an update to your FB activity feed. Apps can continue doing this as long as they go back to the old, original “built-in” action types; Cynthia watched Pacific Blue on Hulu, Cynthia read a post on MarketingPilgrim, Cynthia listened to Rick Springfield on Pandora — all acceptable.

Actions such as you see in the above graphic would be a no-go because “cooked” is a custom action. So, no “found,” “discovered,” “climbed,” “bought,” or “built” unless the user clicked the button. Remember, this change only affects auto posting. (I think. . . it’s not clear.)

In the comments, developers are already complaining about the amount of time they’ve wasted building custom apps that now can’t be used. Here is Facebook’s response:

With built-in actions, we understand the structure of the information and can ensure a better user experience by specializing story formats that can help set user expectations. Apps that currently use a custom content consumption action must migrate to use an applicable built-in action in the next 90 days. If you cannot find an applicable built-in, we encourage you to build a different experience that helps people share meaningful stories with friends on Facebook.

Translation: Get over it. If you don’t like our rules, go play somewhere else.

My favorite response from a commenter:

Facebook is also requiring sites to switch over to a more informative authentication box and to add images and locations to their newsfeed postings. Why? Because stories with high quality images received 70% more clicks. What have I been saying? Images rule, text is obsolete and here’s how I feel about that.