New Facebook App Permissions

Simon Kemp

Facebook recently announced a new apps permission process, and it appears these changes are already live.

The changes appear to be designed to make apps more transparent to users, as this excerpt from the Facebook Developers blog highlights:

More Control & Clarity for Users
Similar to the inline privacy controls people have when they post content, we are introducing a new, inline privacy setting that allows a user to control who can see their app activity on Facebook. 

So what do these changes mean for marketers?

Here is a screen shot of the permissions dialogue for Schweppes’s new Unexpected Future app:

Interestingly, users now have the option to choose which of their friends and networks the app can share activity with – including the option to limit permissions to themselves (‘Only me’). It’s worth noting that the drop-down options also include user-defined lists.

Once the user has selected their sharing network, they are also given control over exactly what the app can do, and can choose to remove certain elements if they desire – note the grey ‘x’ to the right of each option in the screenshot below, which turns off specific functionality:

These changes have some quite fundamental consequences for branded apps, not least because they offer people the chance to totally remove the social element of an app (if they want to).

That may seem to go against the very purpose of a Facebook app, but Facebook state that:

By introducing new ways for people learn about an app and giving them more control over their data, we believe this update will benefit both users and developers.

Indeed, many users will likely welcome these developments, but if users regularly choose to limit visibility of their app-related activities, it may require a significant re-thinking of Facebook strategy amongst brands who rely heavily on apps for social amplification.

You can read more about the technical implications of these changes on the Facebook blog.