Bill Brown bio photo

Bill Brown

A complicated man.

Twitter Github

Talk with Jerry Cain, Ari Steinberg (Manager of News Feed Team), and Tom Whitnah.

  • Use the right channel to deliver the right message. Overview of the old ways of communication with users. Requests: when one user wants another user to take a specific action. Notifications: user-to-user to tell a user an action has been taken towards her, app-to-user to tell a user about something important to her from the application. Feed story: when a user wants to share actions they've taken.
  • Feed is the center of communication on Facebook. Old: single stream, not interactive, only 25 slots. New: top stories as highlights, multiple streams of news, more room for application stories to appear, commenting on stories.
  • feed.publishTemplatizedAction: disaster, user-specific token sets made aggregation very difficult.
  • New methods: feed.registerTemplateBundle and feed.publishUserAction
  • Allow template bundles to include several templates per story size, ranging from user-specific to more general. You can define different templates within a bundle to handle 1, 2, and many aggregated stories.
  • Before you launch your application, think about the sort of templates you're going to be using. Calling the API method only allows for one-line stories. Feed forms: FB.Integration.showFeedDialog()
  • Great communications = happy users. Respect users' attention and their friends' attention.
  • Higher acceptance, lower ignore = more requests allocated.
  • Notifications: user-to-user, can be sent to any non-friends who are also users of the app; app-to-user, allocation is approximately seven per week per user.
  • More read, fewer hidden / spam = more notifications allocated.


  • Allow access to News Feed? Nope.
  • Handle instead of a bundle ID? Not yet.
  • Facebook applications versus Facebook Connect? No differentiation.
  • (me) Disclose allocations per user instead of aggregate? Can put it on the short-term roadmap, but wary of disclosing who is a tattletale.
  • Statistics data available via an API call? Someone was working on that but he didn't know the status of that work.
  • Set privacy in News Feeds? Not at this point but hopefully someday.
  • Timeline for new statistics to appear? In the next week or so.
  • Give visibility into an app's spamminess? Talked about it with the Reviews application but have found some spamminess within the Reviews application itself.
  • What kind of history for allocation reductions? Spamminess metrics last about a month.
  • Expand News Feed on friends to see more of a story? Haven't really thought it.
  • In stories themselves, possible to see how many times one was read in News Feed? Would like to, but not a high priority.
  • Add or view comments, available through API? Probably through fb:comments, not allow to add comments programmatically due to spam concerns.