Facebook's New Actions Go Beyond 'Like'

As Facebook broadens its Open Graph API by adding 60 new frictionless sharing apps, look for new action verbs in your feed. Here's what it all means.

David Carr

January 19, 2012

3 Min Read
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From The Cool To The Ridiculous: CES On Display

From The Cool To The Ridiculous: CES On Display

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"Like" will be a lot less lonely on Facebook, with the addition of new Open Graph application verbs such as cook, eat, travel, run, or review movies.

As part of Wednesday's announcement, Facebook approved more than 60 new apps that take advantage of this more talkative version of the Open Graph API, meaning that users could see a lot more app-related chatter in their newsfeeds and on Timeline profile pages soon. Judging by the public comments on that blog post announcement from Carl Sjogreen, director of platform at Facebook, many users are dreading what that will mean.

This blowback has been in the air since the introduction of Timeline, the new personal profile design that displays more of a user's history, and the new frictionless sharing apps that can automate the posting of actions a user has taken, such as reading an article on the Washington Post social news app or listening to a song on Spotify.

[ Puzzling over the implications of Facebook Timeline? See Facebook Timeline: Will It Benefit Your Business? ]

However, Facebook does seem to be paying attention to the concerns users have about oversharing. Also Wednesday, Facebook announced a new application authorization dialog box, which puts extended permissions such as "Post to Facebook as you" on a separate screen, making them optional. That is, you can click "Skip" rather than "Allow" if you want to get the app but only give it basic access to your profile.

New Timeline apps are now available from Foodspotting, Foodily, Ticketmaster, Pinterest, Rotten Tomatoes, Pose, Kobo, Gogobot, TripAdvisor, and others.

Those firms were part of a pilot program, but Facebook is now opening up access to a broader group of developers, some of whom have already been petitioning for the addition of new Facebook action verbs for things users do with their applications. Facebook said it would accelerate the process of approving those applications in the coming weeks.

"Soon, there will be apps for all types of interests, as more apps will launch over time. Whether you love snowboarding, gardening, hiking, or knitting, or something else, there will be an app for you," Sjogreen wrote as part of the announcement.

Open Graph verbs must confirm to a set of developer guidelines, which for example require that a verb "must represent an actual action the user took at that time" and cannot include sexual or offensive language.

Follow David F. Carr on Twitter @davidfcarr. The BrainYard is @thebyard

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About the Author(s)

David Carr

Editor, InformationWeek Healthcare and InformationWeek Government (columnist on social business)

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