Facebook is testing yet another feature that aims to improve the balance between easy sharing and privacy for a more controlled experience.
This week, some members have noticed a new icon on mobile and desktop News Feed items that link to sites known for sharing activity on Timeline, alerting friends that an individual has watched a video or read a news article.
Facebook introduced frictionless sharing — which enables websites and apps to ask for permission once and then automatically publish stories based on activity — at last year’s f8 conference. With so many Open Graph apps being utilized, it can be challenging to remember the permissions and actions involved with each one.
A grey icon means that sharing is disabled and a link can be clicked without anyone else seeing the activity. When the icon is green, social sharing is enabled. Users can hover over the icon before clicking on the link to see who will be able to see their activity with this item.
Facebook tested a similar feature earlier this month — a small round icon with a green or gray check mark. While neither icon immediately represented social sharing, the updated version is much more subtle. It’s possible that many users won’t even notice it, defeating the point of the alert.
We expect that the social network will continue tweaking this icon. Until Facebook discovers the best approach, it’s possible that some individuals will be hesitant to try new apps. As a developer, you can also educate your community through your Facebook Page about users are agreeing to.