Facebook announces long overdue changes to its third-party app access

Facebook announces long overdue changes to its third-party app access
As part of Facebook’s ongoing efforts to “clean up” its platform and reduce spam, on 26th July 2018 it will finally revoke the permissions of apps such as Buffer and Hootsuite that enable people to publish to their Facebook profile. Why have I written “finally”? Simple: for years people have been confused about whether to have a Facebook Profile or a Facebook Page for their business and by continuing to allow businesses to use third party apps to post to Profiles, they’re effectively encouraging those businesses to continue using Facebook “incorrectly”. Whilst there isn’t really a right or wrong way to use social media, there are defined “rules” for using Facebook as a person and as a business (which includes sports and media personalities, amongst other things).

Facebook Profile vs Facebook Page: what should I use for my business?

This is arguably one of the easiest questions to answer: Profiles are for people – they enable you to have friends and to be you; Pages are for businesses, organisations, causes, celebrities, sports teams, bands, brands and so on. We recently wrote a piece on the different ways to use Facebook Pages in order to help maximise your social media presence.

What are third-party apps?

Some third-party apps help businesses publish content to social media platforms without having to log in to each platform separately. These apps allow you to publish content across multiple platforms – Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and so on – from one place. They also provide the opportunity to schedule posts so you don’t have to do everything “live", as well as pull through the reporting into one place to enable easier measurement of your social media marketing. Facebook, like many other social media and publishing platforms, made a conscious decision to accelerate the scaling of their business by allowing other technology companies to create third-party tools to help people, particularly businesses, use Facebook. This is done via APIs (Application Programming Interfaces) that allow controlled access to certain aspects of a platform.

Why is Facebook changing the way they can access the platform?

Facebook is changing the way people access its platform via third-party apps in part to reinforce the message that every business/organisation needs to have a Page rather than a Profile. They want businesses to have access to the analytics, scheduling and reporting that the third-party tools provide, but only for Pages. It’s really important that anyone who uses publishing tools to share content to their personal profile is made aware of this change, so please do pass on this information to your network. As a business, we’ve been strict on best practice for social media since day one. This doesn’t stem our creativity, but it does mean we’ve never had a problem with clients “breaking the rules” and losing months or even years of valuable data and hard work. I know from personal experience of being a Facebook employee that they can enforce their terms (rules!) very strictly and will think nothing of removing a Profile that is being used by a business instead of a Page. But you have been warned, you’ve all read Facebook’s terms of service, haven’t you…? Alex Wright MD Knapton Wright
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