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Facebook plugin addresses 'frictionless sharing' backlash

Photo via r.nial bradshaw on Flickr under the Creative Commons License

Remember Mark Zuckerberg’s love of “frictionless sharing,” the philosophy that everyone wanted to share everything, so Facebook would do it for you? It’s starting to look like Facebook wishes you’d forget.

For one thing, the company is starting to call it “passive sharing.” For another, on a more practical level, Facebook has released a new Shared Activity plugin that developers can use to give users more control over what activity third-party sites do and don’t automatically publish to Facebook.

The downside of apps that used Facebook’s Open Graph for automatic sharing quickly became evident when Spotify, the Washington Post, the Wall Street Journal, SocialCam and others started cluttering up timelines with friends’ occasionally dubious content choices.

Buzzfeed tracked how user adoption of these apps dropped, possibly because users didn’t like wondering what their friends would think of their One Direction obsession, were creeped out by how much was public, or maybe just because their friends told them to stop with the updates already.

Facebook said the new capabilities were in reponse to feedback from users and partners. “We’re continuing to work with publishers to build social readers, and other social functionality, into their sites while encouraging activity more similar to that of the share and Like buttons, and providing clear controls such as the new Shared Activity plugin,” Facebook posted on its blog. “We’re committed to making media sites more social, while balancing the best way of driving distribution for these sites and helping people discover great content through friends.”

Related links:

Facebook developer blog – A new way for people to manage app activity

Buzzfeed – Facebook Pulling Back On Frictionless Sharing Apps

The Atlantic Wire – Frictionless Sharing Hits the Skids at Facebook

Marketing Pilgrim – Is Zuckerberg’s Frictionless Sharing World a Bust?

Digital Trends – Facebook debuts Shared Activity plugin, gives users control over sharing settings on developer’s sites