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Facebook cracks down on auto-shared posts in News Feed

The site wants apps to ask permission, or else it will push down automatically shared posts

Technology trends and news by Steven Loeb
May 27, 2014 | Comments
Short URL: http://vator.tv/n/3729

Facebook has been on a mission, for the past year or so at least, to completely overhaul what its users see on their News Feeds. That has included steps such as updating its algorithm, pushing down memes, taking aim at spam and, of course, giving the thing a spiffed up new look.

The company is not done yet, though. Cnce again, Facebook is refining the content its users will see, this time taking steps to reduce the number of third-party auto-shares that pop up on News Feeds, it was revealed in a blog post on Tuesday.

You know how when you listen to a song on Spotify or Rdio, or you watch a movie on Netflix, and that information will then automatically show up on your profile page, as well as your friends' News Feed? With this change, from now on, your friends will no longer see those kinds of posts. or at least not as often.

That is, unless you have "explicitly chosen to share" that information with them.

According to Facebook, its users "often feel surprised or confused by stories that are shared without taking an explicit action." I think we've all been there; for example, I started playing Candy Crush, and I'm pretty sure that, without my knowledge, it gets posted every time I pass a level. I had no idea that it was doing that, nor do I know if, or how, I can turn it off.

So, now it is urging devlopers to change the way permissions are handled in their apps.

In a seperate post on its developer blog, Facebook made it clear that it really wants third-party developers to change their settings so that users have more control over whether or not they actually want that information to be posted. Instead of just posting that content, ut wants the app to specifically ask for the user's permission to post it, and also to allow users to share it via a conversation thread on Messenger.

If the user does choose to voluntarily share their information, meaning that someone is really proud of passing level 130 on Candy Crush and really wants everyone to know about it, it will be highlighted like any other shared post.

"In the coming months, we will continue to prioritize explicitly shared stories from apps in News Feed over implicitly shared stories," said Facebook.

Facebook has a good reason for doing this: users were frequently marking these types of automatically generated posts as spam. As less of these types of posts were being shared on Feeds, the amount of posts being marked as spam also dropped by a full 75%.

Translation: people hate posts that they know have been put up without consent.

It's not difficult to see why the News Feed has become so important: it's the thing that people see first when they go onto the site, and its probably the thing they look at the most, so of course Facebook wants to push the best content. 

(Image source: developers.facebook.com)

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