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Simplifying Policies to Make Developing with Platform Better

September 21, 2010

We’re simplifying our Developer Principles & Policies to make building with Facebook Platform easier. Based on feedback from many of you, our new policies are shorter and easier to understand; they give you more freedom and flexibility to focus on developing innovative products.

Simplifying policies to let you focus on what you do best
Social games -- one of the most important segments of canvas applications on Platform -- are engaging in part because they are asynchronous yet ongoing, allowing people to interact with friends when they want to. We’ve made key policy changes to lift the burden we put on your ability to design games. For example, we no longer prevent you from encouraging users to interact with their friends through Facebook’s communication channels when they come back to a game. Instead, we’ve focused our policies to only restrict spammy applications who want new users to invite friends before they’ve even tried the application.

We’ve also removed policies which were confusing or no longer made sense with our current products. For example, we removed an extraneous policy which required you to ask users upfront whether they wanted to publish before presenting users with a Feed form because the Feed form itself asks users to confirm whether they want to share. Requiring a two-step process led to a poorer user experience and impacted the amount of sharing that happened through applications.

Improving quality across Facebook
Finally, we’re able to make some of our policy improvements because we have an engineering team dedicated to the quality of what people see on Facebook. This team has launched new systems to detect and reduce spam across the site whether the spam comes from applications or our own features. For example, we were able to reduce unwanted Friend Requests by 40% since July. These changes will help people see the content most important to them.

Learn more
None of these policy changes will require any changes for developers whose applications already comply with our previous policies. The revisions also don’t impact the data available through the API or the control people have over their experience on Facebook. For more details, we’ve outlined each change in this document.

We hope these simplified policies will make the experience building with Platform better and let you focus on doing what you do best -- build great, social products.

Carl, who manages the Platform product management team, is glad our new policies are simpler.