This article was published on August 13, 2012

Facebook now lets third-party apps post ‘explicitly shared’ items just like a user, driving engagement

Facebook now lets third-party apps post ‘explicitly shared’ items just like a user, driving engagement

Facebook has announced something for developers today that will allow their users to control what gets shared on the social network.

These “explicitly shared actions” will make posts on your Timeline come off as more authentic, since they’re not being pushed automatically. Users have to push a button, basically. The Open Graph has been such a powerful tool for developers, as items that get posted to the News Feed and Timeline have driven ridiculous amounts of traffic and engagement to sites like Pinterest and Fab.

More importantly, this is going to combat all of the “noise” that people might be starting to ignore on their News Feed.

Here’s what Facebook had to say about it:

We created the Open Graph to help people express who they are through the apps they use. Over the past few months, we’ve introduced a variety of improvements to make the experience match user expectations and reflect how people use apps. Today, we’re introducing explicitly shared actions to let apps notify us when a user wants to prominently share something like they would through posting it directly on Facebook.

Developers can add a new, optional explicitly shared parameter to signal which actions users want to prominently share on Facebook. For example, when people choose to share a check-in using foursquare or a photo via Instagram, they expect the content to appear as if they had posted it directly to Facebook.

Proactive sharing is great to drive traffic to sites outside of Facebook, and will appear on your News Feed as “stand-alone stories”, as well as on the left-hand side of your Timeline.

Other activity will be pumped into the Ticker for rapid-fire sharing.

The company shared some of the use-cases for this functionality, noting that explicitly shared content is perfect for posting photos, location and other messages. On the other hand, this shouldn’t be used for functional parts of a game like playing and earning, or social buttons like liking or loving something.