Facebook has made some changes that may help its users’ news feeds get a little cleaner and more relevant.
On Thursday, the company told developers via a blog post that it was limiting the ways that so-called Open Graph applications — apps that integrate with the real-time feed that appears on the right side of Facebook users’ main pages — can automatically publish posts to users’ profiles.
For example, the company said that apps should no longer be able to publish updates to users’ news feeds as soon as they view an app’s content. Instead, the app developers will have to comply with certain standards for publishing an update automatically. In the case of reading an article, for example, developers could program the app so that it doesn’t send an automatic update unless someone has been on an article’s page for at least 10 seconds.
Responding to user feedback, Facebook also said it would disable a feature that let apps publish stories to friends’ walls. The feature had “high levels of negative user feedback,” the company said, with users hiding the updates or marking them as spam.
Facebook is also encouraging developers to experiment with maps and images in Open Graph apps, saying that users get more information out of these kinds of posts and are more likely to click on an update with an image or map.
All the moves are aimed at helping Facebook improve the overall quality of apps on its network, and may indicate that the company will be giving more careful review to newly submitted applications in the future.
“We’re excited by the increased quality of apps we are seeing and look forward to helping you grow,” wrote Facebook product engineer Henry Zhang.
(Washington Post Co. chairman and chief executive Don Graham is a member of Facebook’s board of directors.)
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