Facebook gets strict with new Open Graph rules and tries to tone down all the over-sharing

 fb open graphFacebook has been doing its part to build its ecosystem thanks to the efforts of third-party developers and its Open Graph. While it’s certainly evolving the way we use and interact with the social network, there have been some noticeable missteps along the way — namely the fact that seamless sharing has turned News Feeds into a flood of your friends’ terrible taste in music and political articles you have no interest in. 

In order to curb some of the Open Graphs over-share problem, Facebook is implementing a few new rules for developers who want to display content. 

Facebook is increasing the size of its image and location-led stories and adding relevant imagery for developers using the Open Graph. So you may begin to notice that stories published to your Facebook News Feed are larger and more prominently featured, but Facebook claims that based on tests, these changes have boosted engagement rates. “Image-led stories have shown 70 percent more clicks for apps that produce high-quality, relevant imagery with low spam rates,” Facebook says. This will affect two types of Open Graph stories: Location-led and image-led content.

Location-led stories will include a visual map, courtesy of Bing, of your location. Non-Open Graph stories will simply display the city and state or country of your location.

location lead facebook storyDevelopers can now choose to publish 200 x 200 images for image-led stories in lieu of the 50 x 50 images they were previously limited to.

image lead facebook story

Users will also begin to see fewer automatically published stories (which is sort of a nice word for News Feed spam and smut) that can results from authenticating third-party Facebook apps. “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,” Facebook Product Engineer Henry Zhang wrote in Facebook’s blog post.

Realizing this, Facebook is retiring “unexpected” automatic publishing and replacing it with Facebook approved custom actions based on its “Built-in Action Types.” What this means is that while stories can still be published automatically, you’ll have to opt-into Facebook’s preset actions that include “Like,” “Follow,” “Listen,” “Read” and “Watch.” If a developer’s app prompts you to watch a video for example, and you play the video, you’ll have to have watched that content for at least 10 seconds before a “watched an episode of [TV-episode]” appears on your Timeline.

Another change that Facebook is making includes the removal of a feature that allowed developers to force users to request permission for showing content like an article. If you’ve ever tried to read a Washington Times article that was published to your newsfeed, you wouldn’t be taken straight to the article. Instead you were blocked by an “authentication referral” pop-up that then requested permission from you to republish the fact that you’ve read that article. Instead, users will have to log-into that publisher’s Facebook app.

Finally, you can no longer publish content to your friend’s wall using its API as Facebook found that this feature was, to be blunt, generally hated by users. However Facebook will continue to allow users to publish to friend’s walls using the“feed dialog,” where you can share content with a friend using a third-party app — the difference being that the app is commenting on your behalf. 

If the Open Graph is going to transform the network and engage users the way Facebook wants it to, the platform has to ride a line between keeping brands and developers happy without spamming and annoying users. Among its efforts to do this include the new Promoted Posts feature, which gives users — all users, not just marketers — a way to surface their content (though it is first and foremost a new revenue source).

Still, quality is the focus over at Facebook right now, which is reflecting in an update to its Platform Policy (section III.A.6.) for developers, which states:

“Quality of content: you are responsible for providing users with a quality experience and must not confuse, defraud, mislead, spam or surprise users. For example, you must monitor your app’s negative feedback in Application Insights to ensure it stays below our thresholds, avoid excessive advertisements or bugs, and ensure the description of your app is consistent with your app’s content.”

The result should be a better controlled News Feed with less third-party posted content. 

Emerging Tech

How emotion-tracking A.I. will change computing as we know it

Affectiva is just one of the startups working to create emotion-tracking A.I. that can work out how you're feeling. Here's why this could change the face of computing as we know it.

Your PlayStation 4 game library isn't complete without these games

Looking for the best PS4 games out there? Out of the massive crop of titles available, we selected the best you should buy. No matter what your genre of choice may be, there's something here for you.

The hottest Nintendo Switch games you can get right now

The Nintendo Switch's lineup started off small, but games have steadily released as the console continues through its second year. Here are the best Nintendo Switch games available now.
Social Media

Facebook says it unintentionally uploaded email contacts of 1.5 million users

Facebook says that over the last two years it unintentionally uploaded the email contacts of 1.5 million users as they signed up to the social networking service. The process has ended and the email addresses are being deleted.
Social Media

How to download Instagram Stories on iOS, Android, and desktop

Curious about how to save someone's Instagram Story to your phone? Lucky for you, it can be done -- but it does take a few extra steps. Here's what you need to know to save Instagram Stories on both iOS and Android.
Social Media

Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp went down worldwide for 2 hours this morning

Chaos erupted on the internet this morning, as Facebook, Instagram, and Whatsapp all went down from 6:30 a.m. to approximately 9 a.m. Thousands of users were unable to access the sites or send or receive Whatsapp messages.

Skype screen sharing for mobile will let you share your swipes on dating apps

Skype is prepping the launch of screen sharing for mobile so you can share your swipes on dating apps, shop with buddies, or, perhaps, show a PowerPoint presentation to coworkers. It's in beta just now, but anyone can try it.
Social Media

Facebook toys with mixing Stories and News Feed into one swipeable carousel

Facebook's News Feed could look a lot like Stories if a prototype the social media giant is working on rolls out to users. The design change mixes Stories and News Feed posts into a full-screen slideshow that users swipe left to navigate.
Social Media

No more moon showers as Facebook Messenger’s dark mode gets official rollout

Facebook Messenger launched a dark mode last month, but to activate it you had to message the crescent moon to someone. Now it's been rolled out officially, and it can be accessed in a far more sensible way — via settings.

Twitter has revealed a launch date for its handy hide replies features

Twitter has revealed a launch date for a feature that lets users hide replies to their tweets. The hope is that it will help the original poster filter out offensive or irrelevant content from conversation threads.
Smart Home

Oh, Zuck, no! Facebook rumored to be creating a voice assistant to rival Alexa

Facebook hasn't been a big player in the smart speaker market, but that may be changing: The social media giant is reportedly working on a digital assistant to compete against Alexa and others.
Digital Trends Live

Digital Trends Live: Facebook data security, Ubisoft helps Notre Dame, and more

Join DT Live as we discuss Facebook security issues, Ubisoft's plan to help rebuild Notre Dame, and more. We are also joined by Emily Teteut of Snap the Gap, Jennifer Sendrow of New York Public Radio, and DJ and producer Zeke Thomas.

After controversial video, China bans ‘Leica’ on social media

A video that referenced Tiananmen Square got the name of the camera company Leica banned from the social media platform Weibo. Leica says the video wasn't an officially sanctioned promotion.

Photography News: Instagram’s disappearing likes, the best photos of the year

In this week's Photography News, see why Instagram is testing a version that excludes the number of likes a post gets. Also, see the impressive winners from two photography contests and the latest features coming to the Fujifilm X-T3.