Facebook Adds Age and Location Filters for Application Developers

August 21st, 2008 at 12:00 am

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Facebook is now the biggest social network in the world. This popularity is not because it is the best social network, it’s just because it was the first to consider the plausibility and effects of third party applications. Hence, every other social network is playing catch up.

The Facebook Applications are getting a new feature today. Facebook announced in the Facebook Developers blog that they will be adding an API to filter age and locations for Application Developers.

Before the AGE and location filters, all Facebook Applications were accessible to anyone and everyone. However, these new restrictions can give the developers an option to deliver their apps to only the demographic they are targeting. For example, liquor related apps can only go to those who are 21 and above. Another example would be for gaming applications. Developers can limit the distribution of their app only to countries where they have a license to do so.

The new demographic filters take the information directly from user profiles. However, that information is easily changed by the user and out of Facebook’s control. Meaning, that information is easily false and unreliable. Facebook is still encouraging developers to ask their potential users their information before the application is used.

"Our restriction technology is based on a combination of what information a user has entered and verified on Facebook as well as IP targeting for location. You must use this technology whenever Facebook policies require it (more on that below), but you can and should consider implementing additional consent or confirmation in your application as appropriate.

For example, if for legal reasons your application requires the user to affirm that they are of a certain age or are in a certain location, you should continue to solicit that explicit affirmation, and not regard the fact that the user passed through the Demographic Restrictions as equivalent."