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Facebook Timeline: Open Graph Apps to be Reviewed before Publication

07
Oct
2011

apps_timeOne of the biggest causes of problems in Facebook is the social networking site’s laissez faire approach to applications. Developers have much freedom over the interface and can pretty much upload whatever they want. This results in a surplus of spammy applications that clutter up not only the newsfeed but also the person’s profile. Facebook, as it turns out, was not unaware of this problem and has, in fact, been thinking up some solutions to it.

When the Timeline feature debuts these coming weeks, Facebook will implement a new system that will allow it to manually review and approve Open Graph applications before they’re allowed to have a place on the new Timeline. The whole process will be similar to Apple’s method of approving apps before they’re put up on the App Store. This is a big contrast to how they used to allow developers to publish anything they want and only take the time to review these apps when complaints crop up.

Also, if you can still remember Facebook back then, from about 2008 to 2010, you might remember that Facebook used to allow apps to have a fixed place on a person’s profile. For example, those who played Playfish’s Restaurant City or Pet Society could allow the app to install a small box on their profiles where their characters would be shown, along with some information such as the character’s level, points, etc. There were also some apps which showed books that a person read, places that the person traveled to, etc. However, there were instances when the users were no longer using the apps themselves but neglected to remove them from the profile, making them irrelevant at best. Eventually, Facebook just decided to disallow apps from doing this altogether, rather than allowing them to clutter up a person’s profile.

This time around, they’re going to allow apps to have a place on the profile once again but it will no longer be permanent. The Timeline will show a user’s recent activity, meaning that should the user stop using an app, then it will gradually be pushed back as time goes by and the user does more activities.

The review process will ensure that these apps won’t publish info by the minute. For example, if you have Spotify enabled, it will only publish information such as “the song you listened to most often during the past week” as opposed to every song that you listened to. As such, we can be sure that our Timelines won’t be chock full of spam.

Facebook is sure to meet much opposition and scrutiny when they publish Timeline and giving users a smooth experience when they use the feature might just mean the difference between a warm reception and a cold rejection.

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