Facebook

  • Facebook announced on Tuesday a series of updates to its developer platform.
  • Probably the single biggest change: Apps can no longer automatically post to your Facebook profile. While it alleviates a user frustration, it may catch developers off-guard.
  • Another big change is that some apps will lose their ability to start a Facebook Live broadcast on your behalf. Facebook will now only approve this functionality for a select few partners.
  • The move comes ahead of Facebook's F8 conference, to be held next week.


It's a pretty common annoyance: You use Facebook to log in to a new app, and you forget to change your settings. Later, you find that the app has posted on your timeline, for all the world to see. 

Well, that particular problem is not much longer for this world, as Facebook announced on Tuesday that it's no longer letting apps post to your profile at all. 

The change goes into immediate effect for new apps, while existing apps will retain their posting permissions until August 1 of this year. In lieu of automatic posting, Facebook is urging developers to focus on share buttons, where a user has to knowingly click to post a link, photo, or other content to their profile.

This is a big change for Facebook: Automatically posting to profiles has been a big part of Facebook's app platform across much of its 11-year history, and some developers are likely to get caught flatfooted by this change. 

Facebook announced other changes to its developer platform as well. Another big one is that Facebook will only let certain, pre-approved apps start a Facebook Live video broadcast on your behalf. This means that many existing third-party apps with Facebook Live features are about to lose that functionality. This, too, may catch some developers off-guard. 

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There's a laundry list of other, smaller changes. Facebook is winding down its integrations with its apps on certain cable set-top boxes and other devices, with an eye toward replacing them with more modern apps where appropriate. Others are more subtle, like the fact that apps can no longer RSVP to Facebook events on your behalf. 

All of these policy shifts come at a tumultuous time for the company, which has been hustling to show that it's working to protect its users and their data in the wake of the Cambridge Analytica scandal, where as many as 87 million users had their profile data improperly used for political ad targeting.

It's actually the second time that the company has made policy changes to its platform this month alone — earlier in April, Facebook shut down the older Instagram platform, and otherwise closed down some lesser-used developer features. Facebook is expected to announce more platform updates at its annual F8 conference, to be held next week.

On a final note, Facebook is trying to maintain a relationship with the developers who will be affected by this change. There's a form for developers to fill out if you feel "your business or service was impacted by these changes and you have an urgent issue in need of resolution," according to the blog entry.

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