Facebook Open Graph

Users have agreed to authorizations, but understanding how to use Open Graph is critical to enhancing the experience of the user. By authorizing third party applications to retrieve personal data, access to post on a user’s timeline and specific actions the user takes through Facebook Connect the application can better understand the user. However, Open Graph is specific and the data authorized to code must be exact in determining what actions to code before posting onto the users timeline.

For Open Graph to reach its full potential, it’s important for the users to agree to the correct permissions so the right data can be recorded. These permissions include the content that the third party app has access to and what actions the app can make on a user’s site. Whether the app is interested in basic information, likes, locations, photos, interests or information about a users friends, these authorizations are the foundation of gathering data from the user. Facebook Developers present a full list along with the coding specifics on the permissions that an app can grant to users.

Facebook Open Graph is the cornerstone of understanding the user. Without Open Graph the idea of data efficiency is too simple. However, Open Graph allows third-party applications, such as Rotten Tomatoes, to display and post information on your Facebook Timeline. The specific information posted on Timeline depends on the type of data needed to understand the constituent.


Facebook Open Graph relies on actions. The third party application must record an action from the user and then post information on the timeline for the user’s friends to see or interact with.

Facebook Developers cites three steps of operation of Facebook Open Graph.

1-User takes an action in your app

2-App POSTS the action to Facebook

3-Facebook GETS your object’s metadata.


So what exactly is an action or the process you might be asking? It’s simplethe user’s action might be to read something. Reading is the action and what they are reading is the object. The user, action and object are all key ingredients to Facebook Open Graph.


Enrique Gutierrez, in What Facebook OpenGraph means For You, describes actions that can be recorded as what a user is reading, clicking,  typing, commenting on, sharing, visiting, mouse scrolling and many other actions.

Overall, actions are determined by both what the user does and what the app wants to record and publish on Timeline. This could be watching, reading, listening to or anything else that the app could possibly think of recording.


            Facebook developers describe the Metadata as “tags to describe the type of the object, the name of the object and other key information.” These tags are the technical features necessary to code the users data to post on the timeline. The Open Graph Protocol describes four required properties for every page as the following.

Og:title – title of the object,

og:type – the TYPE of object,

og:image- image URL, or the image within the graph,

og:url – the URL that will be associated with the site.

A meta data tag might look like this:

<meta property = “og:title”content=”website”/>

The coded actions would be put into the various sections of the metatag and then the information would be posted onto the users timeline.


While the actual code required for Open Graph is much more in-depth and detailed, the code above is the type required to code the data users produce. It’s important to determine beforehand what type of data should be authorized to code, because it’s not efficient to code information that is not needed for the sake of the application or constituent.


So how does Open Graph work into the business model you might be asking? Third parties can utilize Facebook Connect for users to connect their Facebook profile to that of the website or application of the third party company. In comes Open Graph. Open Graph gives the third party the ability to take the data, actions, activity, interests, etc. and apply them to understand the constituent. If the data is coded correctly, then the data the user contributes will be able to enhance the experience for the constituent, the third party and the users friends. Finally, the actions the user takes are posted on Facebook for all to see. The general idea of how third party applications can take advantage of Open Graph is through data efficiency.

Public Pressure

There is a considerable amount of public pressure that arises with utilizing Open Graph. Users are hesitant to accept authorizations for an app that asks for too much information, but it’s also important to limit the nature of what data Open Graph uses and what information is posted in Facebook Timeline. There is a line between enhancing the Facebook experience for the user and posting person information. When using Facebook Open Graph to enhance the experience of user and use the data efficiently, the third party app must determine how the information posted and data retrieved can understand the constituent. The third party application will receive the users data, specifics on friends and other valuable information; therefore, the app must provide a valuable service to the constituent. Finding the medium is a small price to pay for the incredible amount of data available for both the app developer and in understanding and enhancing the experience for the constituent.




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