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Getting the Most Out of Feed and Streams

April 3, 2009ByMustafa Khan

For Facebook Platform developers, the new home page design offers a powerful opportunity to widely distribute content that users want to share from your application - whether from a Facebook Connect site, canvas page, desktop, or device. The new stream focuses on real-time conversations and updates as the entry point to Facebook, and new API parameters allow users to personalize Feed stories.

Since launching these features, users have increased engagement with Platform application stories, and overall Platform usage has grown. These are positive indicators of the compelling ways that developers are leveraging the stream. To provide you and your users with a better experience, we’d like to offer the following guidance as well as introduce our updated Feed policy.

Help Users Share What Matters Most

Typically, users want to share with friends only after doing something significant; otherwise they risk violating social expectations around over-communication and spam. Think about content and interactions within your application that users would like to broadcast, and provide them with the ability to distribute high-quality content that will engage friends. Remember to integrate Feed forms at the right points, and be sure to display meaningful and well-formatted content and action links in your Feed stories.

Feed Policy Update

To complement these product updates, we revised the Feed rules to reflect the principles outlined above. New policy elements include:

  • All Feed publishing methods are now explicitly covered (including users.setStatus and status.set).
  • Content sent via methods requiring extended permissions (such as status updates) or the user_message parameter must be user-generated.
  • Any call to action in a Feed story must be formatted into an action link, similar to the Comment and Like links below the body of a story.

Please check out the complete Feed policy on our Developer Wiki.

We hope these rules will guide you in publishing stories that will be interesting to users and increase their trust in Platform. The updated Feed policy goes into effect on Monday April 20, 2009 at noon Pacific time. However, we may ask you to make changes sooner if we receive user reports about your application.

Let us know what you think in our Developer Forum. Or if you have a question you need to ask privately, please reach out using our Developer Help Contact Form.

We'll continue improving the stream to offer you valuable distribution while giving Facebook users greater control over the content they want to see. By focusing on the user experience, you should benefit from increased interaction, as many developers have already seen.