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Another week, another Facebook API update that affects privacy and, therefore, marketing.

Just so we’re on the same page here, APIs (application programming interfaces) are like secret tunnels that allow one application or platform to share information with another. (For example, you can post to Facebook via the Instagram app.) For today’s digital marketer, keeping track of these relationships is key for social channel management.

Facebook is constantly evolving, and claims to be prioritizing users over advertisers. Over the past few months, the company made a few API updates that could cause a little backlash from brands, but we think they’ll lead to a more engaged user experience in the long run.

Facebook

  • Last November, Facebook banned like-gated Facebook pages, encouraging a more organic brand “like” process. While there are still a few ways to procure page likes such as tabs, apps and advertising, this gives users a chance to look over the brand before liking, rather than forcing a shallow fan.
  • In the March/April timeframe, Facebook updated how it measures audience data and how page likes are counted for businesses. For example, they removed memorialized and voluntarily deactivated accounts from business pages’ like counts. While some were disappointed about their drop in followers, this ensures that data is consistent and genuine.
  • A few weeks ago, Facebook locked down their Login and Graph APIs, giving users the ability to choose what data outside apps can read or use when they first access the app. Ideally, this puts users’ minds at ease regarding who is stalking their birthday, or who is checking out their friends’ info.

Facebook discovered that users didn’t like a social media platform where likes were purchased and user data was sneakily pulled, and they did something about it. So –what do you think about Facebook’s “people first” movement? What do you want to see next? (Perhaps this upcoming newsfeed algorithm change?)