We use Facebook as an avenue to post our daily updates, rants, pictures, interesting links that catch our attention, and so much more. These updates are loaded onto the News Feed where Facebook users can read and be informed of what’s going on in their Facebook friends’ lives.
Recently, Facebook has announced that it will reduce the number of auto-shares on the News Feed and make it as an opt-in feature, and favor only explicitly shared posts instead. This change is due to the number of user feedbacks that Facebook has received regarding stories that are shared on Facebook by users who did not explicitly share them.
Facebook’s founder and CEO, Mark Zuckerberg’s vision for Facebook was probably for every user to have a platform to share about everything they do, eat, listen, and play in real time. With the implementation of Open Graph in 2012, it seemed as though every action you made through Facebook and other apps linked to Facebook will be made known via the News Ticker at the top-right of the screen. If you were to sign in with Facebook onto The Washington Post and read an article, that action will be shared to Facebook and your Facebook friends would know about it.
If that isn’t the epitome of lack of privacy on a social media, I don’t know what is.
It seemed that most users were not yet ready for that kind of transparency being shown to their friends or to the public. Therefore, users were reporting a lot of auto-posted stories from music apps, news apps, and social games as spam.
Facebook then upgraded by helping developers to implement Facebook sharing tools inside their respective apps, such as a Facebook share button. Since then, the number of auto-posted stories have reduced and the number of users marking stories as spam have dropped by 75 percent.
Social media platform, Instagram will be most affected by this change as Facebook have removed Instagram’s ability to automatically share anything in Facebook. Usually, if you were to like someone’s picture on Instagram, an update saying “<insert your name> liked a photo on Instagram” and it will appear on the News Feed. So now, automated posts like these from Instagram and other like apps will be removed.
Third-party apps like Spotify usually automatically share updates without any action required from the users. Therefore, your friends on Facebook will be able to see what music you are listening to without you actually posting it. These type of auto-shares will be heavily reduced, but not completely removed. They will just not appear as often as before, and status updates that are explicitly chosen by users will have better circulation and frequency.
According to The Verge, auto-posts will still populated areas of your profile dedicated to them, for example, the songs that you listen to will still be added into the Music section of your profile.
In general, Facebook wants to encourage developers to emphasize on “explicitly posted” content rather than “implicitly posted” ones. Peter Yang, who works in Platform Product Marketing at Facebook, said that this is to avoid users from feeling surprised or confused with stories that are shared without their approval or knowledge since users are more likely to engage with stories that are shared explicitly than implicitly. We can, however, assume that sponsored posts will still remain on the News Feed.
Well, I for one am in agreement with this move by Facebook, no longer will my Facebook friends know, without my consent, what kind of juicy gossip stories I like to read online.