Facebook Stops Apps From Automatically Publishing Custom Actions – Updated

*UPDATE – The following update was issued by Facebook to clarify the forthcoming changes:

“Update: To clarify, the majority of custom actions will continue to be approved and function as normal. The changes announced below only impact custom actions for apps that publish stories as content is consumed. For example, if you have an app that publishes a “view” action to timeline and news feed each time some looks at videos on your site, you must migrate to the appropriate built-in action – “watch” – to provide a consistent user experience. For more information on what is considered a content consumption action please see the matrix in our Open Graph guidelines.”

We apologize for any confusion our post caused on the subject. It appears that apps will continue posting as content is consumed (read, watch, listen, etc.). The big change is that custom actions will not longer be approved – app developers will have to use built-in actions or create a different sharing experience. Facebook is depracating some features that they deem have led to low quality user experiences. Read the post on the Facebook’s Developer’s Blog for more information.

One of the most annoying and privacy violating features of many modern websites is the function that automatically shares what you’re doing on your Facebook timeline. From Spotify to Hulu, many websites have embraced the sharing capabilities of Facebook by automatically linking up with their users’  Facebook walls and sharing every song they listen to and every video they watch. Facebook, however, is tired of it, and has adjusted its rules to stop this automatic sharing.

“Starting today, custom actions that automatically publish back to Facebook as a person consumes content in your app will no longer be approved,” Facebook’s Henry Zhang wrote in a blog post. “The user should be aware that publishing to Facebook is occurring,” Facebook said. “This could manifest in many different ways but ultimately the user should not be surprised that Read actions are being published.”

Hopefully this new rule will prevent sites from automatically informing all of your Facebook friends what you’re listening to or reading online. Facebook should be commended for stepping up to the plate on behalf of their users and protecting them from accidentally oversharing. Facebook often gets a lot of flack for its slow-moving reaction time to issues of online privacy, but this is a step in the right direction for properly protecting their users.

Recommended Resources

BitDefender Safego is a Facebook application you can install that will scan your News Feed and help keep you safe from scams on Facebook.

PRIVATE WiFi® is a Personal VPN that encrypts everything you send and receive. Don’t access Facebook from a public WiFi hotspot without it.

Action Alert | Free Parental Control offers a 100% free Internet safety solution designed for parents. There is also a Maximum Protection option for parents that need a more advanced set of tools.

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