Facebook Is Finally Throwing Developers a Bone
Written by Brendan at 8:47 pm • digital

Yesterday afternoon Facebook announced thay they are opening up Facebook Status, Links, and Video to the Facebook Platform. Previously Facebook made a really hard distinction between app data and user data. Only users could directly import items into their notes, links, etc. These new changes are allowing apps to automatically make updates if a user opts in. This is a shift from their pattern over the last year and a half of continually rolling out rules and restrictions, which have left developers frustrated.

Here’s a quick recap of the major restrictions Facebook has imposed in the past:

August 2007 – Facebook began to impose restrictions, and made apps more difficult to install. Facebook changed metrics on leader boards to focus on engagement, as opposed to installs.

January 2008Facebook changed news feed rules for apps so that news feeds stories around apps became limited, and no longer visible to users who do not have the app.

February 2008Facebook created a sliding scale for app invites. Invites were no longer limited to 20 invitations per user per day, but determined by an algorithm, which took in to account the following factors:
– Historical invitation acceptance rate
– Whether your application overrides the user’s choice to invite no friends, but instead forces users to invite friends
– Additional factors that “reflect the affinity users show for the application as a whole”

April 2008 – Facebook allows users to stop receiving app invites through filter options.

July 2008Facebook launched their redesign which moved moved apps off the front page and into newly launched tabs. They also made app installs irrelevant/non-existent, and allowed users to bookmark apps instead.

November 2008Facebook launched their app approval system and Great App Program. Apps approved as part of Application Verification Program were given greater visibility, but developers had to pay $375 and abide by ‘guiding principles’ to gain entry. Facebook announced that some Apps (ie maybe 10-15 each year) would be deemed ‘Great Apps’ and be given even more exposure.

Ultimately, these constant changes and restrictions to the platform left developers frustrated. The changes required developers to rework their apps, and in most cases caused their app traffic, and in turn their businesses, to dwindle. In a recent interview by Infinite Pixel Studios one frustrated app developer stated that, “Facebook is constantly doing code changes often unnecessary which break features.” Another developer vented in an interview with Reuters, stating that, “rather than enforcing rules against those who are developing applications in bad faith, Facebook has changed the rules for everyone.”

A quick glance at the daily usage of RockYou, one of the original app developer networks, shows a massive decline in traffic as a result of Facebook’s continued restrictions since their peak over a year ago.

One Response to “Facebook Is Finally Throwing Developers a Bone”

  1. Frank Says:

    I can’t wait to see what you guys will be able to do with the new offerings

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