Tom Insam

Facebook locks down the feed even more

Well, as of next month, Facebook developers can no longer put things in a feed unless it's going in as a direct result of an action that the owner of that feed performed on a facebook page.

Now, this is clearly spun as trying to prevent 'you've been given a beer' / 'you've been bitten by a zombie', etc messages. Not letting apps belonging to another person put entries into my feed is a good thing. But the documentation page says

Note that you should not be using a session_key for a user who is not actively using your application when calling this method.

Now, I read this as, you now can't use a background process to put entries into a user's feed using a session_id. You can only put things into their feed if they're looking at your app while you're doing it. And this is irritating. It completely breaks all the apps I use that syndicate the outside world into my Facebook profile - Twitter, delicious, CPAN, Dopplr, etc.

It seems that this is an effort to stop users like me, who just want to use existing services, but centralize update notification for the friends I have that don't want to obsessively subscribe to 20 RSS feeds. Naturally, facebook don't like me, because I don't see, and therefore click, their ads. Forcing me to visit the site to tell my friends anything 'fixes' this.

Maybe I'm paranoid. Maybe I'm mis-reading 'actively', and they're ok with installed apps using session_ids of users who aren't logged in and using that app at this precise moment. I hope so.