Facebook Addresses App Permissions Gripes

Facebook now requires that applications and games separately request permission to post about your activity.

Kristin Burnham

August 23, 2013

3 Min Read
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10 Facebook Features To Help You Get Ahead

10 Facebook Features To Help You Get Ahead

10 Facebook Features To Help You Get Ahead (click image for larger view)

If you're tired of updates from Facebook apps clogging your News Feed, you'll be happy with the social network's latest change. Facebook now requires that applications and games separately request permission to post about your activity on your behalf.

In an announcement posted Thursday to its blog, Facebook said that users sign in to applications more than 850 million times a month and acknowledged users' gripes with its former login process. Facebook Login, which uses your Facebook credentials to log in to an application or website, is an option that some companies use to make the sign-on process easier.

"Although Facebook Login is widely used, we understand people's concerns about apps posting on their Timeline or to their friends'. For the past several months, we've been rolling out a new version of Facebook Login on mobile to address these concerns."

[ Is your news feed too cluttered? Read 5 Ways To Customize Your Facebook News Feed. ]

Before, Facebook combined requests for both the ability to post on your behalf and to access to your profile information on one page. Now when you login to an app using Facebook, the social network asks for permission to post on your behalf on a separate screen. This will likely make users more aware -- and presumably opt out -- of the option that clutters news feeds.

The redesigned login is also clearer in showing you who can see what you're sharing. A button that displays whether you're sharing activity publicly, with friends or privately is more prominently displayed. Clicking the button lets you quickly change your privacy settings.

For example, if you use an app that logs your exercise activity, you can more easily choose whether you want your runs and routes shared with your Facebook friends. If you don't, the app will stop posting your activity on your behalf. You can always update your sharing settings if you change your mind.

In separating the sharing requests from other app permissions, the social network has made Facebook Login load up to 31% faster on mobile and 16% faster on the Web, it said.

Facebook also provided app developers with a set of policies and best practices to follow that it says can achieve a conversion rate of 80% or higher. Policies included avoiding redundant login requests when a user has declined the app authorization; providing a clear logout mechanism in the app; and asking only for permissions the app requires, nothing more.

Best practices for app developers include the ability to login even if users skip permissions; providing personalization to show users who they are logged in as; and avoiding a double login because Facebook users should only have to enter a password once, Facebook recommends.

While you can do your part in ensuring your friends' feeds aren't cluttered with your app activity, there are ways you can also take control of the friend updates you see. These include hiding individual posts -- such as your friends' app activity -- from your news feed, sorting your news feed by lists, viewing only posts from Pages you follow and removing individual friends or pages from your news feed.

About the Author(s)

Kristin Burnham

Senior Editor, InformationWeek.com

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