Dev

Facebook brings mentions to third-party apps via Open Graph

Image Credit: http://www.shutterstock.com/pic-83795656/stock-photo-a-woman-hands-using-a-personnal-note-book-to-connect-facebook.html?src=6ffa858d592acd0c5c9b2865f09d0d32-1-19

Facebook announced today it’s giving developers a new toy: the capability to tag a user’s Facebook friends in an off-Facebook app.

This is how it works: In your food-picture-taking app, Bob the User might snap a picture of his macaroni and write an update like, “LOL this looks like Alice.” If you’ve got the mention features for Open Graph all wired up, Alice, Bob’s Facebook friend, would then be tagged in that post. In addition to showing up on Bob’s timeline, the post would also appear in Alice’s Facebook timeline, and Alice would receive a notification about it.

Inside an app, it’ll look something like the image on the right.

This is different from action tagging, which is only used when Facebook friends perform a specific action together (i.e., “Randi Zuckerberg checked in at Palo Alto Grill with Jessica Somebody”).

This change is a big boon for developers who are using Facebook Open Graph as a way to boost adoption and engagement. Friend-tagging features that can spread across Facebook means potentially huge numbers of new users being exposed to your app via the most trustworthy source of all — their nearest, dearest Facebook buddies.

“This new feature is ideal for situations when people are doing activities where they want to reference friends,” writes Facebooker Cindy Li today on the company blog.

“For example, people want to mention friends when they share a special song, call a particular friend’s attention to a great movie or restaurant, or describe a photo that includes a friend.”

Facebook isn’t making any privacy changes for the new feature; privacy settings users already have for tagging will apply.

To bring the magic of mention tagging to your app, you can resubmit your actions and request approval for both “user messages” and “tags” with specifics (including reproduction steps) on how you plan to use mention tagging. It’s all right here in the documentation, son.

“We’re happy to bring support for mention tagging to Open Graph and can’t wait to see all the new use cases this enables,” Li said.

Top image courtesy of flydragon, Shutterstock

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