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New Ways for Us to Partner Together

July 25, 2008ByBenjamin Ling

Over the past year, we have been amazed and at times even overwhelmed by the sheer volume of development on Facebook Platform. During our f8 conference in San Francisco on Wednesday, we shared the many lessons we've learned in the past year including the need for us to do more to partner closely with developers and to make sure our ecosystem is robust and ultimately thriving. We made several announcements about our commitment to improve, and I'll highlight a few here.

First are our guiding principles for great applications. Our vision for Facebook Platform has been to give you the opportunity to create applications that are deeply social and meaningful to users. After hearing from many of you and many users, we realized we need to be clearer about what this means. We've now published our guiding principles, which fall into three dimensions of meaningful, trustworthy and well-designed.

  • Meaningful applications are social, useful, expressive and engaging. They advance our shared goals to give people the power to share and make the world more open and connected.
  • Trustworthy applications respect users - their identity, their relationships and their attention.
  • Finally, well-designed applications strive to be clean, fast and robust so they can deliver value to users at scale.

These guiding principles are core to Platform and you'll see us refer back to them in much of what we'll be doing with Platform going forward.

Secondly, we announced our Great Apps program to reward the applications that have provided value to Facebook users by embodying all of our guiding principles. These applications will gain greater visibility and deeper integration opportunities on Facebook, have earlier access to new features and receive more feedback through Facebook's growing partner management team. iLike and Causes are our inaugural Great Apps, recognized for how they've revolutionized user experiences in music and activism, respectively.

Finally, we know the openness of Platform when it was launched in May 2007 resulted in an overemphasis on viral distribution. While applications have provided countless benefits to people on Facebook, this emphasis on distribution also impacted the user experience and led us to limit access to communication channels. Our Application Verification program is designed to offer extra assurances to help users identify trustworthy applications -- applications that are secure, respectful and transparent, and have demonstrated commitment to compliance with Platform policies. Verified applications will benefit from added visibility on Facebook.

The verification program complements our ongoing policy enforcement against those applications who do not agree with our guiding principles around being trustworthy. In the coming year, enforcement will be based on principles in addition to rules, simply since we can never articulate a rule for every way an application could deceive users. This makes consistency and transparency on our part absolutely essential so you have a good understanding of what types of behavior are and aren't allowed. Our verification program and enforcement efforts will help the Platform ecosystem be safer for users and fairer for developers.

We are really excited to announce more Great Apps and to bring out the first batch of verified applications. Both selection and review processes will be open to you starting in September. Meanwhile, keep an eye on our new developer Web site for more details. We are committed to helping you succeed; these two programs are just the start of a new era for our partnership.