Facebook’s Open Graph app launch event is underway here in San Francisco, where over 60 new Open Graph websites and apps are either demo-ing or launching remotely. The apps can publish user activity back to Timeline and Ticker, even from offsite. Launch partners include Pinterest, Ticketmaster, Gogobot, Rotten Tomatoes, and many others. Carl Sjogreen, Facebook project manager, also announced that Facebook will now begin approving apps from third-party developers who aren’t partners.
The Open Graph platform was first announced at f8 in September. There, music, news reader, and video apps debuted showing how users could share what they listened to, read, or watched. With today’s launch, a wider variety of activity will begin to appear on Tickers, Timelines, and the Facebook news feed. This includes what users have pinned, tickets they’ve bought, trips they’ve planned, and movies they’ve reviewed.
Facebook first tried to allow websites to publish back to the news feed years ago with the now infamous Beacon. Because users didn’t quite understand they would be sharing their ecommerce purchases and other activity back to Facebook, some complained their privacy was violated. Though these users had willfully opted in, but the messaging about what would be published wan’t quite overt enough. It was quickly scrapped.
To prevent a repeat, Facebook has created a much clearer opt in permission flow announced earlier today. It makes it easier to see what an app does, control who sees the content it publishes, and opt out of specific permissions such as news feed publishing.
Some users will unfortunately cruise through this step and end up sharing information accidentally. This is inevitable, but Facebook is doing its best to be up front and give users control.
Sharing more of what we do both on and offline is the future. Facebook has waited long enough. Everyone might not be comfortable right away, but I think just like the news feed, they’ll grow to love Open Graph apps with time. Often times these content you shared on these services was already visible to its other users. Now you can instantly share it with people you care about.