Facebook Forces Developers To More Explicitly Ask For Permission To Post Back To Facebook

One of the things that has confused and sometimes even upset users of third-party Facebook apps is when and how apps will post information back to Facebook.

Over the years, Facebook has had to clamp down on apps that are too spammy. Now the company is taking another step in making developers be clearer on asking for permissions to post through a new log-in flow.

Now, Facebook apps will not only have to first ask for permission to access a user’s data, developers will also have to separately ask for permission to post updates or activity back to the social graph.

“Clearly separating sharing means people can decide whether they only want to use Facebook,” explained product manager Ling Bao in a blog post.

This isn’t a totally new thing, as Facebook had already encouraged top developers to do this through its published best practices.

Facebook log-in has been a beachhead for the company’s platform for years, allowing it to penetrate hundreds of thousands of apps. Developers rely on it to manage identity and to make sure that new users automatically have friends that they can interact with in third-party apps.

The company released a few new stats today on Facebook log-in’s usage. Facebook log-in is used more than 850 million times a month. The company is also making strides in mobile, with 81 of the top 100 grossing iOS apps and 62 of the top 100 grossing Android apps in the U.S. using Facebook log-in.

This is a huge uptick from a few years ago. A few years ago, I went through the top iOS and Android apps and found that most of them had very few Facebook-connected users.

But since then, Facebook has improved its reach into the mobile app ecosystem with a multi-pronged strategy of offering identity management through log-in, distribution through mobile app install ads and back-end and server management through the acquisition of Parse.