Facebook To Change App Permissions
Beginning in October, Facebook will change its permission policy, making manage_pages permission required for apps to access user accounts. According to Facebook’s Developer Roadmap,
“We are modifying access to the FQL page_admin table and the graph.facebook.com/me/accounts endpoint. Previously, with basic permissions granted, an app could go to this endpoint or the FQL table to access the list of a user\’s apps and Pages. We are going to require that apps have the manage_pages permission in order to obtain access to this information.
“If manage_pages permission has been granted, yields access_tokens that can be used to query the Graph API on behalf of the app/page; manage_pages required for all access to this field after October 1, 2011.”
Why the Permission Change Matters for the Marketer
Getting permission is critical to getting higher levels of engagement through Facebook apps. The information contained in a Facebook fan page allows you to speak directly to their stated needs and interests. That’s a lot of power.
And Facebook’s change in policy actually takes the company further down the road of direct marketing, where non-digital sales channels have used customer permissions for direct mail and telephone cold calling lists for decades.
However, “junk mail” and “telemarketing” often go hand-in-hand with interrupted dinners, wasted resources, annoyance, scams, and bottom-feeding sales tactics.
How To Avoid “Power Pitfalls”
- Integrate Permission Into the Signup: To make it easy and straightforward for your app users, put the permission acceptance dialog in the user interface of your app so permission is granted before the app operates.
- Be Transparent: As with traditional direct marketing, few things in advertising create more anger and distrust than when customers find out they are on an advertising list they don’t want to be on. Your app users are no different!
- Use Permission With Respect: Gaining voluntary permission from your fan base comes with a lot of power, so make sure when you use that information that you have a solid strategy for the offer or communication. Make the value exchange worth it for everyone. Expect to give, more than take, at least at first.
Facebook Isn’t The Same World
Unlike traditional direct marketing, Facebook users have apparently become less concerned with issues of privacy in social media. Many Facebook users routinely post photos of their children with their full names, they say when they are out of town, “check in” (or get “checked in”) with their exact locations, and offer up similarly private and personal information.
Facebook has intentionally kept its privacy options simple in order to avoid confusion or complexity for users, many of whom have limited knowledge about how to change settings. After all, part of Facebook’s appeal is that nearly anyone can use it.
The current trend seems to be to make light of Facebook privacy concerns more than panic about them. (See The Onion’s “Facebook Is CIA’s Dream Come True” on Mashable as one of many examples.)
We also routinely accept Terms of Service in the online and software world without reading a word of it. (Like, how much easier would it totally be if everything were in Terms of Service Bro Speak, brah?)
Perhaps Facebook allows so much freedom of expression that users care less about who they share their information with by definition of the medium — whether friends or not, whether with people or businesses.
As Paul Brown writes on Suite101.com,
“…People have already become comfortable with customized ads based on their browsing history and other sorts of targeted Internet marketing schemes, so maybe it isn’t that big a step for them to accept applications wanting more and more of their personal data.” (“Facebook’s New App Permissions Are A Bad Idea”)
We think that’s true, as long as marketers are upfront with how they gain this newly required permission to access customer information.