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New Facebook rules aim to force developers back onto the social network
New Facebook rules aim to force developers back onto the social network
December 6, 2012 | By Mike Rose

December 6, 2012 | By Mike Rose
More: Social/Online, Business/Marketing

Facebook isn't happy that some game developers are launching titles outside of the social network with Facebook's social integration options built in -- so much so, that it has launched two new policies that aim to bring them back.

Up to this point, video game studios were able to access Facebook's open graph on other platforms, meaning that once a player had logged in to another website using their Facebook details, the developer could then access details about them in-game, such as their friend list.

From today, that's no longer the case. Developers are now prohibited from accessing the open graph outside of Facebook, essentially forcing them to build their games on the social platform if they want access to these features, reports AllThingsDigital.

On top of this, Facebook is also removing certain options that allowed studios to drive traffic from the social network to external websites.

For example, it used to be the case that you could force a player to visit another website via an invitation from a friend. Facebook has now removed the ability to drive players to your website from such links.

Note that these new provisions apply solely to games -- apps such as TripAdvisor and Wrapp can still access your Facebook credentials outside of the social network.

One of the biggest companies hit by these new rules is Zynga, given that the platform pulls lots of user information from Facebook to display on its own website. Facebook noted that it has given Zynga more time to prepare for the changes "in order to ensure a smooth transition."

This move separates the two companies even further, following a filing last week that revealed Zynga is losing a number of its Facebook perks.

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Peter Streck
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It now turns out that Facebook has given so much perks to Zynga that competition for other companies was more than unequal. To late they have already created something bad.

Stephen Triche
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I cannot verify some major statements in this article.

"Developers are now prohibited from accessing the open graph outside of Facebook". This suggests that games off Facebook can't access the open graph.

However, the provision in Facebook's policies read as follows:
"a. Desktop web games off of may only use Facebook Login (Authentication, excluding user connections such as friend list), Social Plugins and publishing (e.g., Feed Dialog, Stream Publish, or Open Graph). When authenticating, these games may not request additional permissions other than age, email, and our Publishing Permissions."

Number one, this blurb appears to relate to DESKTOP games not on Facebook only. Not "All platforms off Facebook". For example the stipulation, as written, wouldn't apply to mobile games. Secondly, the blurb, as written, explicitely states that it CAN access the Open Graph.

Vin St John
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The policy affects games that are on web sites (accessible in a browser) other than which use Facebook functionality. These games can now use some basic functionality (reading the user's age, email, name, profile picture, and publishing to Open Graph, a few others) but they cannot READ most of hte data that is made available by Facebook, and they can't use other platform features like Requests and Notifications.

Games accesible from the web browser on can't promote or link to Facebook games or games on competing social networks that are played OFF of

As you pointed out, the rule does not apply to mobile games.

Stephen Triche
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Also, even if access to the Open Graph is disallowed, I'm not sure this means that Graphi API access itself is disallowed, which means statements like "can't access the friends list" may not be accurate?

Alex Nautilus
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Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc: It's all about advertisers. These companies need people using their services websites to display ads to them.

Troy Walker
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so, it's only a platform if you only use their platform for their benefit?.. oh ok.