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A New Data Model

April 21, 2010ByEthan Beard

Earlier today we introduced the new Graph API to help you more easily access data from Facebook. To improve the Facebook Platform experience for developers and users, this data is now backed by a simpler data policy and a unified data permissions dialog for users. These changes reflect two core beliefs: first, user data belongs to the user; they should have transparency and control over it. And second, you should be able to build relationships with your users; we should not be in the way. We hope these improvements will foster more trust and engagement for our platform and the applications and websites using it.

New Data Permissions Dialog

Giving users transparency and control over the data they share

We're combining all of our permissions dialogs into one unified dialog. With this change, we're giving users transparency and control over the information they give applications or websites; developers benefit from a streamlined flow for requesting multiple permissions. When users go to your website or application on Facebook, you can ask them in one step for all the information you need, including access to their stream, friends' information, or even their email address. By default, users grant you access to their public data. If you need private data or friends' data, the new dialog will clearly present these requests, so users can understand what you need, make informed choices, and quickly get started.

New Data Policy

Simplifying the developer experience and enabling closer relationships with users

We are removing our 24-hour caching restriction which posed a technical burden on developers. This restriction forced applications with millions of users to ping Facebook's servers millions of times each day to perform basic functions like displaying a user's name back to them. Most of you had to write special code paths to handle Facebook data. As part of today's changes, you can store data — only the data users have granted you access to, of course — and more easily write fast, high-quality applications. With the new real-time updates feature, you can also be immediately notified when your users' information changes, including their profile information, friends, and Wall posts.

Giving users more control and transparency also permits us to add new policies which let you build a closer relationship with your users. For users who connect with your application or website, you will now have full access to use basic account information, including user ID, name, and email (once a user grants permission) in any way you believe provides a richer experience for your users. In addition, with explicit user consent, you can use their data for purposes beyond displaying it back to the user. However, you'll now need to have your own privacy policy and enable users to delete all of their data from your app. We've also clarified our advertising-related restrictions.

Next Steps

You can opt in to using the new permissions dialog by going to the Migrations tab of the Developer application and enabling "New Data Permissions." Nothing will change for your existing users; you will retain the same level of data access you had before. For new users who see the new permissions dialog once you enable it, you will have access to all the data you request. On June 1, 2010, we'll automatically transition all Facebook Platform applications and websites who have not yet migrated.

The new data policies take effect today, April 21, 2010.

Learn More

This new data model makes developing on Facebook Platform easier and more useful, while users gain transparency and control. We believe these changes lay the foundation for the next generation of social and personalized experiences around the Web.

Ethan Beard, director of the Facebook Developer Network team, is excited to meet all of you at f8 today.